Fukushima has asked the national government for relief from urban planning laws and regulations currently restricting construction of residential properties in its western section where radiation levels are lower.
The city is seeking to be made into a special economic zone to allow it to rebuild in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered meltdowns in the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
National government laws give priority to subsidizing creation of public housing for victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, but do not envision man-made disasters such as the reactor meltdown in Fukushima, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years ago.
Fukushima Mayor Takanori Seto said July 15 that he would set up a panel of experts to work on a plan for reconstruction of the city to be submitted within this year.
Fukushima officials said that radiation levels are comparatively higher in the city’s east and many residents were demanding a move to the western part of Fukushima, which is sparsely populated and radiation is lower.
However, under the Urban Planning Law, development is forbidden for much of the land in the western part of the city of Fukushima. The city is seeking relief to allow it to build roads, parks, buildings, commercial facilities and residential housing in the western area to move people from its east.