Japan’s government will allow residents from specific areas near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to return home permanently in September, saying on August 9 that the situation at the power plant has improved.
A government spokesperson said that the plant has become more stable, radiation levels have fallen and there is a significantly lower chance of further hydrogen explosions.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and industry (METI) noted the radiation levels were lower after monitoring the air and soil at schools, medical facilities and public buildings in the area, including the towns of Hirono and Naraha, cities of Minamisoma and Tamura and the village of Kawauchi in Fukushima prefecture.
The final decision will depend on how safe the power plant is and from what distance; the final results of radiation monitoring to determine whether levels are safe for them in the specific location and how easily services and infrastructure such as the water supply and sanitation can be restored and decontaminated in different areas.
Once these are confirmed to be safe the government will decide around mid-August. However, the final decision will be left up to the individual mayors to decide when the residents can return depending on the restoration of the water supply and sanitation policy, among other things.
“We will respect the decision of each city, town and village,” said a government official.