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Fukushima reactions to radioactive ‘hot spot’ evacuation recommendation mixed

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Mainichi Daily News
June 17, 2011

Reaction has been mixed in Fukushima Prefecture to a new government recommendation that people in certain locations outside the Fukushima nuclear crisis exclusion zone evacuate if possible due to high levels of radiation, with some saying it came too late while others hail its flexibility.

The new policy unveiled on June 16 designates certain locations “hot spots,” where the annual radiation doses could exceed 20 millisieverts, as areas for recommended evacuation. Since the new policy is nonbinding, those who want to continue to live in their current residences can do so, while others who wish to move out will be provided with government support on a household basis.

“I appreciate that the government will assist us to evacuate, but why now? Isn’t it too late?” said a 29-year-old mother of 5-year-old and 3-year-old girls in Date, Fukushima Prefecture.

It is estimated that a number of hot spots could emerge in the Kamioguni district of Ryozenmachi in the city of Date, and those locations are subject to the evacuation recommendation under the government’s new policy. There are currently 180 households in the Kamioguni district.

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The woman had already decided to voluntarily evacuate to her parents’ home in the city of Fukushima before the government announcement. Her parents-in-law, whom she is living with, are farmers, but she has never let her children eat their harvests. Since she is six months pregnant, she cannot take off her mask outside.

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“The central and the municipal governments didn’t say anything. I’d decided to evacuate myself, but I hope the government will also support those who want to voluntarily evacuate from areas not designated for recommended evacuation in moving out,” she said.

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This article was posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 at 3:22 am

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