04/21/2011, 00.00
JAPAN
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Fukushima: no entry zone within 20km around the nuclear plant

The ban will be implemented from today. A special permit will be required to enter the area. The government declares that the ban is necessary “for the safety” of the residents. Some of them still live in the dangerous zone.
 Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Starting from today, the Japanese government will ban people entering the 20km evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant as of midnight on Thursday. Chief government spokesman, Yukio Edano, told in a press conference that from now on people will be able to enter the area only under government officials control.

“The plant has not been stable – he said in the press conference – we have been asking residents not to enter the area as there is a huge risk to their safety. Unfortunately, there are still some people in the areas." And he added: "Today... we have decided to designate the area an emergency area based on disaster law."

The 20km zone was evacuated very soon after the 11th March earthquake and tsunami. Nearly 80 thousand people lived there, then went away; but they were allowed to re-entry the zone from time to time to take away their property. The refugees have been camping in schools and sport halls, waiting for the government permit to come back. The actual ban means that the return might be delayed for a long period. The Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the company responsible for the Fukushima plant, declared some days ago that the situation will not be stable for at least six-nine months.

It’s highly likely that the residents will be allowed to enter the forbidden zone for a two hours period, under official supervision, to take their belongings, which will be subjected to radioactivity screening.

Around the forbidden zone, the government also declared a wider 10km zone  where people should either stay indoors or leave.

Nearly 14,000 people have been confirmed to have died in the earthquake and tsunami and more than 13,000 people are missing. Over 130,000 people still living in temporary accomodation.
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