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Japan to lift part of Fukushima evacuation order: official

Published on Feb 24, 2014 12:00 PM
 
An aerial view shows the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks (top) in Fukushima, in this photo taken by Kyodo on Aug 31, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan will lift an exclusion order on an area around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, allowing some residents to return to live for the first time since the disaster, officials said on Monday.

"The formal lifting of the evacuation order will come on April 1, affecting around 300 people" whose homes are in part of Tamura city, around 20km west of the wreaked plant, a Cabinet Office official told AFP.

Over the next two years, up to 30,000 people will be allowed to return to their homes in the original exclusion zone, thrown up in a bid to protect people from the harmful effects of leaking radiation, he added.

The decision comes despite sharp divisions among residents over whether or not they should return, with many still concerned over the persistent presence of low-level radiation, despite decontamination efforts.

 
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