The authorities of a town in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture are considering partially lift the evacuation order for "difficult-to-return" zones with high radiation levels by spring of 2022, town officials disclosed on 2 August, The Mainichi reported.

The move by the Futaba municipal government is the first time a municipality in difficult-to-return zones has presented a plan to lift an evacuation order. The town of Futaba was entirely evacuated after the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP. Six other municipalities in Fukushima prefecture have areas deemed as difficult-to-return zones. Currently, 96% of Futaba town is designated as a difficult-to-return zone.

Futaba town officials have included the plan in an application to be submitted to the central government, hoping that residents will be able to return to hometowns.

Futaba town's plan calls for the development of a 555-hectare area. It intends to designate a recovery hub in the areas where many residents used to live, and it plans to build housing complexes and other facilities there. The town is also seeking to lift the no-entry order for a region in the northeastern part of the town, where radiation doses are relatively low, by the end of March 2020. It plans to invite companies, including those engaged in reactor decommissioning at the Fukushima Daiichi, to be based there but does not envision the return of residents.