You Can Go Home Very Soon, Or Maybe Not

Since March 11 of last year the Japanese government has been telling people they will be able to return to their homes “very soon”. When many evacuated they were told to leave their pets behind at home as they would only be gone “a few days”. The government insisted for months that everyone would be returning home very soon. In August PM Kan finally admitted some may never be able to go home and others would be evacuees for years. In recent months the government has again been pushing that people could return home and opened a few areas of lower radiation for return.

Many who returned after the entry ban was lifted found homes damaged by a year of neglect and a place lacking basic infrastructure like water or any services. It raises the question what will these evacuation zone areas and homes be like after 5-10 years of neglect? Will those people be forced to wait 5-10 years for compensation for their homes loss or damage? Will they be expected to live in limbo for those years to possibly return to nothing livable?

Now the government is admitting they will need a buffer zone around the plant. This would take towns such as Okuma, Futaba and Tomioka out of the possibility of ever being re-inhabited. The zone is needed to buffer between the large amounts of nuclear waste stored on site and high levels of radiation in the reactors. They also cited the need to secure a zone around the plant as they dismantle the plants and remove fuel. TEPCO has already been making plans to use a mall in Tomioka as an operations base and possibly the rail station at Namie.

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