Fukushima Nuclear Plant Forces Evacuees to Other Regions of Japan

Mar 18, 2011, 08:38

Concerns over the fallout from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant has Japanese leaders looking to move hundreds of thousands of people in order to keep everyone safe. Some of Japan's 380,000 quake-tsunami evacuees now in shelters may be moved elsewhere because of the difficulty in building temporary housing, an official said.

As of Friday, 380,000 people were living in about 2,100 shelters after being evacuated from the worst-hit Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures in the northeast region that was decimated by last Friday's earthquake, the world's fifth strongest, and an accompanying tsunami.

The region was also being threatened by continuing aftershocks and a damaged nuclear power plant posing a risk of massive radioactive contamination.

The government is considering moving some of the evacuees to other parts of the country, Kyodo News quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano as saying Friday.

The concern is the difficulty in building temporary housing on such a massive scale for the evacuees any time soon because of the crippled infrastructure.

"Relocating the victims would be a useful approach," Edano said. "We are considering it and making arrangements.''

Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai supported the idea, saying he planned to ask the evacuees to move to other regions, the report said.

"Their living conditions would improve if they move to other prefectures," Murai said. ''It is a non-binding request but I hope people affected by the quake will cooperate.''

Murai's government said it may take as long as a year to complete temporary housing. Currently about the 220,000 people from his prefecture are living in about 1,100 shelters.

Source: UPI