TOKYO -- The Japanese government decided Friday to lift an evacuation order put in place after the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The order covering part of the nearby city of Minamisoma will now expire July 12, allowing over 10,000 people to return to their homes. The central government, the city and Fukushima Prefecture all approved the measure, the scale of which would be one of the largest of its kind in Japan.
"We have met our objectives concerning decontamination and critical infrastructure construction, fulfilling the conditions needed to cancel the order," said Yosuke Takagi, who heads the government's on-site nuclear disaster response headquarters.
"After considering resident arguments for and against the cancellation, we have decided that lifting the restrictions is necessary given that there are people who wish to quickly move forward on the road to recovery," said Minamisoma Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai.