Some 400 evacuees back home for permanent residency in Minamisoma

About 400 of the people evacuated from Minamisoma after the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant have returned permanently to their homes since an evacuation order was lifted in most parts of the Fukushima Prefecture city on July 12, according to a municipal office estimate disclosed on Aug. 1. The returnees live in two zones where either residency was restricted or temporary stays were allowed to prepare for permanent returns. Part of the city remains designated as a "difficult-to-return" zone. According to the city's reconstruction planning department, 239 residents in the Odaka district and 82 others in the Haramachi district reported to the municipal office as permanent returnees as of July 28. About 300 households in Odaka have asked for mail to be delivered to their residences, but some returnees have not reported to the municipal office. Given these factors, the city office estimates the number of actual returnees at around 400. "It is difficult to come up with an accurate count," according to an official of the department. (Translated by Kyodo News)