Restrictions eased in disaster-hit Fukushima town

NHK -- Mar 09
People are now able to freely visit parts of a town in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, where entry restrictions had been in place since the nuclear accident caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The restrictions were eased on Monday in parts of the Shimonogami and Kuma districts of Okuma Town. These districts had been designated as "difficult-to-return" zones. Gates preventing entry were removed at 9 a.m.

An evacuation order for the areas will remain in place but people can now enter freely, without any time or age limitations.

Yokota Mikio, who was originally from Okuma Town, traveled from Iwanuma City in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture to visit his family grave. He said it's good to be able to freely enter his hometown but added it's still not habitable. He said he feels sad and frustrated because his house will be demolished.

Okuma Town marked the second time entry restrictions were eased in areas designated as "difficult-to-return" zones, following a similar step a year ago.

The government aims to lift the evacuation order early next year for about 8.6 square kilometers of the town, where decontamination work and infrastructure rebuilding are underway.

- NHK

東日本大震災からまもなく10年。福島県大熊町で原発事故によって設けられていた帰還困難区域への立ち入りが8日、一部の区域で緩和されました。  規制が緩和されたのは、大熊町のかつての中心部に近い約320ヘクタールの区域です。  午前9時にゲートが開放されると、警察車両などが入っていきました。  この区域は、政府が来年春までの避難指示解除を目指す「復興拠点」に指定していて、居住や宿泊はできませんが、今後は通行証がなくても自由に出入りができるようになります。 - ANNnewsCH