09/05/2015, 00.00
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Four years after disaster, government "reopens" Fukushima zone

The government has removed the evacuation order from Naraha, a town near the reactors affected by the tsunami in 2011. The population can return to their homes. But only 10 of the more than 7 thousand residents have announced a desire to return. Fear of contamination is still too strong.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than four years from the atomic disaster that devastated the area in Fukushima, the Japanese government this morning removed the evacuation order from the town of Naraha, near the reactors affected by the tsunami that devastated area. The government has allowed the permanent return of residents and announced a series of subsidies for the recovery of the area.

It is a pilot project ahead of March 2017, the deadline set by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to remove all evacuation orders. Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said: " The true reconstruction of our town will begin now. Let us work together for the creation of a new Naraha". However, of the 7,368 registered residents at the time of the disaster only 10 have announced plans to return home.

On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake shook the eastern coast of Japan, causing a devastating tsunami that forced 470,000 people to abandon their homes. Almost 16,000 people died in the tragedy (and thousands more went missing), but the number of victims continues to rise as deadly radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.  According to the National Police Agency, 15,884 people are confirmed killed; another 2,636 are missing, presumed dead.

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