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LDP sets goal of lifting evacuation orders near Fukushima plant in 5 years

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Aug. 17 decided on a target of lifting evacuation orders for radioactively contaminated areas near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in the next five years, with the goal to be combined with proposals from Komeito and put forward to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe within the month.

    The plan would create "recovery bases" in each of the municipalities that are currently still off-limits due to contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant meltdowns. Until this month no policy had been put forward by the national government on how to handle the decontamination of the so-called "difficult-to-return" areas and the return of evacuees, but on Aug. 5 the LDP and Komeito gave a draft of the policies to the governments of these municipalities.

    Under the policies, the parties propose that the municipal governments meet with the prefectural government and create plans for setting up the recovery bases. The national government would then evaluate the plans. The current "difficult-to-return" areas would not be redefined before having their evacuation orders lifted.

    A draft outline of the proposal that will be made to the prime minister was also shown. It included a suggestion to transfer to interim storage facilities an amount of contaminated soil equivalent to the amount at homes and schools in affected areas by fiscal 2020.

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