Fukushima evacuees reluctant to return home

27 April 2017

Some 80% of voluntary Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees, now living in other areas of Japan, have no intention of returning, according to a Fukushima prefectural government survey released on 24 April.

The survey covered 12,239 voluntary evacuee households that had been receiving a prefectural housing subsidy, of which 5,718 households had left the prefecture. Of the 4,781 who responded to the survey,  78.2% stated that they would "continue living" in the area they had evacuated to. Another 3.5% said they would move, but not back to Fukushima prefecture. Only 18.3% said they intended to move back. However, of voluntary evacuees still living in Fukushima prefecture 23.6% said they would stay in their current locations, while 66.6% said they hoped to return to their original homes.

Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori told reporters at an April 24 news conference, "It's essential to respect the evacuees intentions" about returning home. "However, we will work to create an environment where people can live with peace of mind, so evacuees can return home in the future." The prefecture ended its housing subsidy for voluntary evacuees at the end of March this year, stating that the "living environment (in Fukushima prefecture) is in good order" due to ongoing decontamination work and other factors.

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