New Fukushima danger zone designations allow residents to visit former homes

TOKYO —

The Fukushima town of Tomioka on Monday became the eighth location near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nucear power plant to be redesignated as part of a government plan to speed up reconstruction.

Wards within Tomioka, a formerly-abandoned town (except for one resident) in the Futaba district of Fukushima, were redesignated in a bid to allow former residents to visit their properties and begin clean-up operations, TV Asahi reported Monday.

The government hopes the new, reworded zone labels will help to mitigate fears. Towns that had formerly been designated as “No-Entry” zones or “Expanded Evacuation” zones due to the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, are to be redesignated to allow for gradual rebuilding of Fukushima’s infrastructure.

The new designations include three categories, each with its own entry rules. “Return Forbidden” are closed zones with over 50 mSv of radiation dose per year. “Residence Forbidden” applies to areas with over 20 and under 50 mSv of radiation per year. Finally, “Preparing for Evacuation Cancellation” is the designation for areas registering under 20mSv of radiation per year.

These designations replace those of “No-entry zone” and “Evacuation area” that were previously employed. 

Tomioka Mayor Katsuya Endo said that although the government has set up several thousand barricades and many areas are still off-limits, the new zone designations allow for some 11,200 people, around 70% of the town’s former residents, to return to their former homes and begin clean-up operations. “Finally, we can start rebuilding the city’s infrastructure,” Endo told reporters.

Japan Today

  • 1

    Cricky

    Might as well go home, certain death would be better than a card board box in a school gym. What an embarrassment to the government these people are, don't they understand the world is watching.

  • -14

    Daijoboots

    certain death would be better than a card board box in a school gym

    Just what are you talking about? Are you talking about Japan? What country are people living in cardboard boxes in school gyms? Read something and get back to me.

    What an embarrassment to the government these people are, don't they understand the world is watching

    I do hope you are watching something. Anything.

    Wow. If I read your post right, I just hope there aren't many people like with you with such a massive misunderstanding.

  • -9

    Daijoboots

    Certain death. Cardboard boxes in gyms. Good god. That, is an embarassment.

  • 8

    UsagitoSaru

    Daijo perhaps you may be misunderstanding..that there are still allot of people living in shelters with cardboard for walls for the past 2 years now.

  • -10

    Daijoboots

    that there are still allot of people living in shelters with cardboard for walls for the past 2 years now.

    Are you talking about evacuation centres? If that's the case I won't even ask for a source for your information, because I know you don't have one.

    If you're talking about temporary accomodation, did you notice how well equipped they are? Sure they might have thin walls, but so does my rabbit hutch. Boo hoo.

  • 6

    tmarie

    Sure they might have thin walls, but so does my rabbit hutch. Boo hoo.

    Are you actually trying to compare the temp houses to your apartment? Good lord, you need a wake up call. YOu do get that there are many homeless because of all of this, right? You do get that some people are indeed still living in temp shelters because they don't have temp houses or can't get one that keeps their family together, right?

    Japan has treated this people like garbage and it is disgusting.

  • 3

    gogogo

    Government: "Please go home and clean up your town."

    People are going to inhale so much crap into their lungs... The government is committing these people to death.

  • 1

    Thunderbird2

    So how dangerous is Tomioka, on a scale of 1 to 10? I'm being serious, forget the milliwhatsits, are the people who want to return to Tomioka going to contract radiation poisoning?

  • -11

    Daijoboots

    Are you actually trying to compare the temp houses to your apartment?

    What temp houses? Is that what you call them? And yes I am. Will be glad to leave this thing and head up to Tohoku on Wednesday.

    Good lord, you need a wake up call.

    tmarie, don't make me take you to the cleaners. I think you were quite shamed the other day on the cherry blossom plan in Fukushima thread. You don't know what you're talking about.

    YOu do get that there are many homeless because of all of this, right?

    Define homeless. Do you mean those who lost their home but are now in equipped rent-free temporary units? Do you mean those who had uninsured homes at close to sea level in an earthquake/tsunami prone region? Do you mean those who will most likely be moved to municipal apartments because that is the most land-effective/cost-effective solution to re-house them? The country does not owe anyone new homes tmarie.

    You do get that some people are indeed still living in temp shelters because they don't have temp houses

    No one is living in a temporary shelter and there is no such thing as a temporary house. Please bother to familiarise yourself with terminology before pretending to know something.

    Japan has treated this people like garbage and it is disgusting.

    Please. It's very easy to throw away comments like this isn't it. All it does is demonstrate how little you know about the nature and scale of the problem.

    • Moderator

      No bickering please. Focus your comments on what is in the story, not at each other.

  • 4

    zichi

    @Daijoboots

    No one is living in a temporary shelter and there is no such thing as a temporary house. Please bother to familiarise yourself with terminology before pretending to know something.

    You are not correct. There are still about 200 old people from Futaba who are holed up in an old school in Saitama. There maybe other cases too. These are becoming forgotten groups.

  • -7

    Daijoboots

    You are not correct. There are still about 200 old people from Futaba who are holed up in an old school in Saitama.

    You keep saying this and I'm gonna ask for a source please. If it is true I would be interested to know. It does not detract from the government's effort to put rooves over the heads of hundreds of thousands however.

  • 4

    zichi

    @Daijiboots

    You keep saying this and I'm gonna ask for a source please. If it is true I would be interested to know.

    I provided links on previous posts.

    It does not detract from the government's effort to put rooves over the heads of hundreds of thousands however.

    The central Tokyo gov't will not be building any accommodations or homes for those who lost their properties from the disasters. Public housing is provided by the local gov't's. The process will be very slow because some areas will no longer be used for housing because of the tsunami risks. There's not enough flat land in the mountains to move whole communities.

    In the Kobe earthquake 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged and the reconstruction took about 15 years. The reconstruction of Fukushima and Tokoku will take much longer than that.

  • -7

    Daijoboots

    I provided links on previous posts.

    I just skimmed through a month of your post history and can't find it.....if you can re-post the link(s) that would be appreciated. Otherwise I'll look for the info another time.

    The central Tokyo gov't will not be building any accommodations or homes for those who lost their properties from the disasters

    I didn't say that. But guess where the money will come from.

    The process will be very slow because some areas will no longer be used for housing because of the tsunami risks. There's not enough flat land in the mountains to move whole communities.

    I know this but it would be good for a few posters who jump and say the government is a disgrace and is doing nothing to re-read it.

  • 2

    Himajin

    What is 'kasetsu jyuutaku' then, Daijoboots (love that name btw)? It's temporary housing. Different again from 'hinanjyou', the shelters (schools etc).

  • -5

    Daijoboots

    What is 'kasetsu jyuutaku' then, Daijoboots (love that name btw)? It's temporary housing.

    Yeah. Temporary housing, temporary accomodation, temporary units. All of these would be fine. But they are not houses, nor are they shelters, and so temporary houses and temporary shelters are misleading.

  • 4

    zichi

    @Daijoboots

    this is one link, Dec 12, 2012 for the story on the Futaba evacuee's at the Kisai High School in Saitama. I would add that the 200 or so old people still living at the school were getting daily free bento's but now must pay for them.

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T121230002396.htm

  • 0

    WilliB

    tmarie:

    " Japan has treated this people like garbage and it is disgusting. "

    I think that is a totally unfair comment, and I am wondering if you have actually followed the news from Japan. Clearly you are not living here.

    Surely things could have been done better (they always can), but "treated like garbage" is completely off-the-wall polemic.

  • -8

    Daijoboots

    zichi,

    Thanks for the link. I don't know if I would call them forgotten groups or otherwise label them as hard done by the government. It does say right there in the article that they are voluntarily still living in the facility to be with each other, and that there are other alternatives available including temporary housing.

  • 2

    zichi

    @Daijoboots

    Except for about 200 old people, the other Futaba people were able to move on but the old ones don't have the money to move on. There have been many articles on these kind of stories. The Kisai High School is also the base for the Okuma gov't.

  • -5

    Daijoboots

    please define what they are living in

    Hey the terminology is not that important if the people use it with good intent.

    The 139 people (according to an article I found dated March 4, 2013) still living in the former Kisai High School in Saitama are the only ones left in Japan living in something called an evacuation center, or evacuation shelter, or refuge shelter, or what have you. They choose to do so, as written in the article. As can also be seen in the article some people live in apartments rented by governments.

    Many people live in newly built temporary units, which are identical and lined up and form a village in some ways. Temporary shopping villages are built using the same basic formula.

  • -5

    Daijoboots

    "We would be lonely if we were separated from our friends," she said.

  • -7

    Daijoboots

    the old ones don't have the money to move on

    They don't need money to move into temporary housing. They need care, which is being provided at the facility.

  • -8

    Daijoboots

    "...many said they would like to continue living in the building to maintain ties..."

    And so forth.

  • 1

    tmarie

    Will, we will have to agree to disagree. I think people having to pay to live in temp housing/shelters due to tepco's screw up while TEPCO gets off scot free is disgusting. The same can be said about kids being kept in areas where it is unsafe for them to play outside. The homeless and day labours who are cleaning up the new for little pay and various scandals they've dealt with. The same can be said for the discrimination folks face if they do leave and go to another prefecture. I could keep giving examples. Yes, some folks have been amazing but overall Japan should hang its head in shame at how these people have been and are continuing to be treated.

  • 3

    zichi

    While its correct that people living in temporary accommodations don't have to pay rent, they are paying higher costs for heating because of the low standard of the buildings and higher ac costs in the summer. Six out of ten families are low earners, earning less than 3 million yen pa. The majority of the temporary homes are built along the coast, which was struck by the tsunami. The locations mean higher transport costs for shopping, getting to work or kids getting to school. Some of the bread earners lost their jobs forcing them to seek work outside of the area, leaving the family behind to cope best has it can. Many of those who lost their homes will still have to pay the outstanding mortgages or car loans.

    Many of these people long to return to their former communities, to the life they had before the disasters struck. But for many, it won't be possible for them to return because the high levels of radiation will continue for tens of decades, like in Okuma near the crippled atomic plant.

    Most are still waiting for compensation payments which they need to move on with their lives.

  • 2

    EngrHassanASabi

    If the levels of radiation are safe for sustainable life and don't pose a threat to the residents then they deserve to stay in their homes and rebuild whats left. I hope the people of Japan can overcome this obstacle. And I hope daijoboots and the others would stop bickering. Hehehe :)

  • -1

    moomoochoo

    The government hopes the new, reworded zone labels will help to mitigate fears...and prevent logical decisions.....and stop cancer.

    All hail the new government and their wisdom!!!!!!

  • 1

    Open Minded

    Or how to give hope to a long lasting hopeless situation. This is just a politician ugly rhetoric to try hiding this enormous disaster.

    "reworded zone, re-establish trust, mitigate fear, ...."

    Or how to reverse the situation to make the victims being the idiots!

  • 2

    Open Minded

    IMHO the only objective behind this re-ensuring communication is to make believe Tokyo people that the Fukushima disaster is over and everything can be back to pre- 3/11, i.e. NPP to full power.

    Tokyo ivory tower elites want to forget about this story.

  • 1

    Thunderbird2

    I'll ask this again: how dangerous is Tomioka, on a scale of 1 to 10? Forget the milliwhatsits, are the people who want to return to Tomioka going to contract radiation poisoning?

  • 3

    zichi

    If people do return to their former homes inside the no-go zone, it'll be like living inside a radiation maze. There'll be so called safe areas with levels less than 20 millisieverts pa, but then there'll be others with levels higher than 50 millisieverts which will mean the shortest distance between two points will no longer be a straight line. Instead, people will have to learn to navigate around all the areas with high radiation levels. Children will have to be taught that its safe to play on one side of the road, but not on the other.

    Radiation is still being released from the power plant, 10 million plus becquerels every single day. The contamination on the mountains remains. People will have to live with dosimeters around their necks.

    Since no farming has been done in the area since the disaster we don't know what the level of food contamination would be. Many people earned their living from farming or associated industries. Others earned their living from fishing, but lost their boats in the tsunami along with all the harbors and docks. No one can land fish caught off the Fukushima coast.

    Will doctors and nurses be willing to return to the hospitals.

    In some of the contaminated areas in Minamisoma, people have been allowed to return to their business but there's no utilities like running water. People are allowed to visit their homes but not stay over night. Some areas in Minanisoma will be off limits for tens of decades.

    I think, in Okuma, 90% of the housing was wiped out by the tsunami.

    People need hope, but it will be a false hope to make them believe that any of them could return to the life they had before the nuclear disaster.

  • 0

    taj

    My former in-laws are from Tomioka. I will contact them to see if any of their family or friends need a hand with heavy lifting or clearing and cleaning over the coming weeks and months. It would be good to have a volunteer base nearer to Tokyo, than my usual treks to the far north.

  • 0

    taj

    Open-minded, I think the rewording and re-districting is based on actuall testing in actually geography, which is more accurate than just drawing concentric circles on a map.

    The wind blew the initial explosion fallout to the north and then inland, in some cases hils or mountains caught more and blocked/ protected other areas. The radiation didn't fall evenly in concenritc circles 20 Km or 30 km or 50 from the plant. Some places are closer, but actually have lower radiation. If a place is safe for people can retrieve goods, or even return to live, why not let them. They are free to have and keep their own testing equipment. The people I know in Minami Soma do.

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