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Japan to allow some residents to return home near nuclear plant

Japan said Monday it would lift an evacuation order on an area around the failed Fukushima nuclear power plant for the first time since it was hit by a tsunami and earthquake in 2011, allowing some residents to return home despite radiation concerns.

The government was expected to announce the order on April 1. About 300 residents in Tamura city will be allowed to return to their homes about 20 kilometres west of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but city officials were not sure how many of them would.

“Lifting the evacuation order on April 1 is desirable,” Tamura Mayor Yukei Tomitsuka said earlier this month.

More than 130,000 residents were forced to leave their homes since the country’s worst nuclear disaster, according to local officials, and many are not willing to return to live in the area.

Tokyo established a no-go zone within a 20-kilometre radius soon after the plant suffered a triple meltdown in March 2011.
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