Japan Says Some Evacuees Can Return to Homes in Fukushima Zone

Japan’s government is allowing some residents to return to their homes within a 20-kilometer (12-mile) evacuation zone around the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant for the first time since the disaster hit three years ago.

The government today lifted an evacuation order for residents who lived in a part of Tamura city in Fukushima prefecture, Shotaro Sano, assistance director of a team helping disaster survivors under the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, said today in a phone interview.

The decision allows more than 350 people in 117 households to move back to their homes. Sano said he didn’t know how many people will move back. Some refugees from the disaster have said they are doubtful about returning because of radiation fears.

While the government officially lifted the evacuation order today, 90 of the 350 people had previously received a special waiver to live in the area, Sano said.

About 98,000 people still live in temporary accommodation three years after the March 11, 2011, temblor that triggered a tsunami in northeastern Japan and led to three reactor meltdowns.

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