Govt. aims to enable Fukushima residents' return

Japan's government aims to enable residents of no-entry zones near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to return home by 2029.

A joint meeting of taskforces on reconstruction and the nuclear disaster on Tuesday approved a policy on government efforts that would be made to lift the evacuation order for the zones before 2030.

The policy is aimed at areas with no prospects of evacuation orders being lifted, in zones designated as "difficult-to-return".

The taskforces said the government will carefully confirm the wishes of all residents and decontaminate necessary locations if they wish to return.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said that more than 11 years since the disaster, reconstruction is progressing steadily thanks to the efforts of the affected people. But he said recovery from the nuclear disaster requires a mid-and-long-term response.

Suga said thorough discussions on local community decontamination work will take place to lower radiation levels so residents can return.

On a plan to release treated water from the plant into the ocean, Suga said the government will carefully convey information and prevent unfounded rumors from spreading.

He said the government will work as a whole and do everything necessary for Fukushima's recovery and revival. He added that the entire Cabinet will make full efforts with the recognition that they are all ministers in charge of recovery.