Evacuation order lifted for Japan’s radiation-hit town

Tokyo, Sep 5 (IANS) The Japanese government on Saturday lifted the evacuation order for a town near the Fukushima reactors, over four years after ordering mass relocations following the eruption in the plant.

Naraha became the first of seven radiation-tainted municipalities in the Fukushima prefecture to be entirely cleared for re-population since the triple-reactor meltdown following the East Japan earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the Japan Times reported.

“The clock that was stopped has now begun to tick,” Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said.

Most of the town is within the 20 km no-go zone set up around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which spewed radiation into the air and sea after the earthquake-triggered tsunami knocked its power out, prompting the meltdowns.

Naraha is “at the starting line at last,” Matsumoto said, adding that he would continue working toward reconstruction.

The central and town governments will reopen a medical clinic in the town in October, while a new prefectural clinic is slated to be built as early as February 2016.

To address lingering radiation concerns, dosimeters will be handed out and 24-hour monitoring will be conducted at a water filtration plant.

Also, tap water will be tested at households worried about radioactive contamination.

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