Survey: Fewer evacuees want to return to Fukushima

Survey: Fewer evacuees want to return to Fukushima

A Japanese government survey shows that fewer people who fled the 2011 nuclear accident want to return to their hometowns in Fukushima Prefecture. Many younger people are reluctant to go back.

The Reconstruction Agency and other institutions conduct an annual survey of the residents of areas where an evacuation order remains in place. The fiscal 2016 survey covered 5 municipalities -- the towns of Tomioka, Futaba, Namie and Kawamata, and Iitate Village.

Compared with the fiscal 2014 survey, the number of people who do not wish to return increased in all 5 municipalities.

In Futaba, the number rose 6.6 percentage points to 62.3 percent. Tomioka saw an 8.2-point increase at 57.6 percent. The figure for Namie was up 4.2 points, or 52.6 percent. Kawamata saw an increase of 8.5 points, or 31.1 percent. In Iitate, the figure rose 4.3 points, or 30.8 percent.

More than 50 percent of people under the age of 40 in these municipalities said they do not want to go back. Some said they have concerns about the quality of health care services in their hometowns. They also think their lives would be less convenient. Some said they have already settled elsewhere.

The Reconstruction Agency says it will provide a good living environment and create jobs in these areas.