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Fukushima population falls by 110,000 after nuclear disaster

The Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is pictured from a Mainichi Shimbun aircraft on March 10, 2016. (Mainichi)

The population of Fukushima Prefecture has dropped by more than 110,000 from before the nuclear disaster, it has been learned.

    According to the Reconstruction Agency, about 43,000 Fukushima Prefecture residents are living outside the prefecture as evacuees from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, while around 55,000 remain within the prefecture as evacuees.

    The 2015 Population Census (preliminary figures) found that the population of Fukushima Prefecture dropped by 115,458 -- or 5.7 percent -- from that in the previous survey in 2010.

    In the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant meltdowns in March 2011, the government issued evacuation orders to 11 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture. Among them, evacuation orders were lifted in part of the city of Tamura and the village of Kawauchi in April and October 2014, respectively. In September last year, the evacuation order was lifted in Naraha, making the town the first municipality to have its evacuation order removed among municipalities where all residents were ordered evacuated. However, only 6 percent of residents have returned to the town.

    The government is planning to lift evacuation orders in the remaining areas by March 2017, except for the "difficult-to-return" zone where radiation levels remain high.

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