Tomioka mayor accepts gov’t plan to end evacuation April 1

An evacuation order issued in Tomioka town, Fukushima Prefecture, following the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant is set to be lifted on April 1. Tomioka Mayor Koichi Miyamoto made clear on Feb. 17 his decision to accept the central government’s plan to end evacuations in the town that day except in a “difficult to return” zone. The measure will apply to a residency-restricted zone and a zone being prepared for lifting the order. The end of evacuations will be formalized soon by the government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters. The central, prefectural and municipal governments are poised to conclude an agreement, possibly by the end of February, committing the national administration to continuing Tomioka’s reconstruction responsibly even after the termination of evacuations. Seeking to end evacuations in April before the central government showed its own plan, Tomioka has been endeavoring to restore the town’s living environment by repairing roads, opening commercial complex facilities and taking other measures. At the day’s meeting of all municipal assembly members held at Tomioka’s temporary office in the Kuwano district of Koriyama city, Miyamoto noted that the town’s committee discussing permanent returns and other parties have endorsed improvement in the living environment to a certain level. “Further continuation of the evacuation will make it difficult to connect our hometown to the future,” the mayor said, indicating his readiness to accept the government plan. (Translated by Kyodo News)