The Japanese government's nuclear emergency response headquarters announced on 10 March that evacuation orders will be lifted in parts of the towns of Namie on 31 March and Tomioka on 1 April, both in Fukushima prefecture and within 20km of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant.
The government also announced recently that evacuation orders would also be lifted on 31 March for two areas, Iitate Village and Kawamata Town, about 30km north of the NPP. The first area to have its evacuation order lifted in April 2014 was Tamura City, about 40km west of Fukushima-Daiichi.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, area-wide decontamination has been completed in nine of the 11 municipalities in Fukushima prefecture that were designated as “special decontamination areas” and are directly managed by the national government. This does not include areas where residents will not be able to return home for a long time. The decontamination work is expected to be completed in the remaining two municipalities – Minami-Soma City and Namie Town – by the end of this month. According to the Japan Times, some 20,000 registered residents are now allowed to return home, but only 13.5% have chosen to do so. In Naraha, to the south of the station, where evacuation orders were completely lifted in September 2015, only 781 of 7276 residents have returned.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe said earlier in March that the government is aiming to lift all evacuation orders by the end of March 2022.