The central government will allow evacuees from no-entry zones--areas within a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant--to return home temporarily from early May to early June, local government officials said April 29.
The government will also divide nine municipalities, totally or partially located in the no-entry zones, into three groups to enable the temporary visits to be conducted in an orderly manner.
Government officials, including Cabinet Office counselors, showed the plan to the nine municipalities on April 29 in an unofficial meeting held in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.
They plan to hold a similar meeting May 1 to determine specific dates for the temporary visits.
According to the plan, municipalities with the fewest numbers of evacuees will be allowed to return first.
Tamura city, Kawauchi village and Katsurao village will likely become the first group that can conduct temporary returns in early May, or immediately after the end of Golden Week.
They will be followed by the second group of Okuma town, Futaba town and Naraha town in late May, and the last group of Minami-Soma city, Tomioka town and Namie town from late May to early June.
Before the plan is carried out, officials of the nine local governments will visit Kawauchi village in protective clothes on May 3 to better understand the situation.
The government had already decided that only one person from each household will be allowed to return home and stay for a maximum two hours.
In the April 29 meeting, however, officials of the local governments asked the central government to ease the limits. They also requested the government allow residents to bring out their passenger cars and pets. The government promised to consider the requests.
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