1,700 more evacuees from Hirono town eye permanent returns by next spring

A survey by the Hirono town office has found that about 1,700 out of some 2,700 residents still evacuated after the 2011 earthquake and subsequent nuclear accident are considering returning to their homes for permanent residence by next spring. The finding means that about 80% of townspeople will have returned permanently by then, including those who have come back already. Hirono Mayor Satoshi Endo showed the survey outcome on Sept. 13 at the start of a September municipal assembly session. Of the town’s population of some 5,000, about 2,300 were back home as of October last year. The survey covered the remaining 2,700 living outside the town as evacuees since the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The survey was taken from January to February this year, asking the evacuated residents about their future plans beyond next March when temporary housing for evacuees is due to be terminated in principle. Questionnaires were sent to them, and town officials visited those who did not respond. (Translated by Kyodo News)