The Japanese government has lifted its ban on entering part of a town in Fukushima prefecture that had high levels of radiation caused by last year's nuclear accident.
Residents in that area of the town of Naraha started returning home on Friday after the ban was lifted Thursday night
The government has reclassified the area as having sufficiently low levels of radiation to support residents returning as soon as possible. Now they can come and go freely but are not allowed to stay overnight, Japanese media reported.
A shopkeeper who went home opened the windows of his house and placed fresh flowers at the Buddhist family altar after nearly 17 months since the Fukushima nuclear power plant was knocked out in the March, 2011 quake-triggered tsunami sending out radiation in a vast area of the prefecture.
Some of the residents opposed lifting of the ban by gathering at the border of the former no-entry zone. The protesters held up signs to drivers asking whether Naraha could guarantee a safe future for its children. They say safety of the area is uncertain as health concerns remain. They also point out that shortening the evacuation period could mean less compensation from the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the nuclear plant's operator.
by RTT Staff Writer
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