For many Fukushima evacuees, most are unlikely to ever return home

Among the thousands of evacuees from the ghost town of Fukushima, many are beginning to realize that they will likely never return to the town following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Unfortunately for those many evacuees, the government hasn’t fully accepted the unlikely return home. The ambitious $30 billion clean-up plan set up by the previous government administration will not be enough to achieve the long-term radiation reduction that the administration originally hoped. It’s time for the government to consider a proposal offering compensation to those residents who have no future prospect of returning home. Around 50,000 of the original 160,000 evacuees remain living in the temporary housing units that are nearing their 3-year limit promised by the government. Back in August, the number of people in Fukushima who have died due to prolonged exposure rose to 1,539.

Some hoped the decontamination project employing  the thousands of workers to strip trees, remove topsoil, and re-spray roads would be enough to reach the ambitious goal of a 20 millisieverts  annual radiation dose. Of course, these hopes were far-fetched from the beginning because 90 percent of the reduction in radiation is meant to come from natural decay of radioactive particles over time. Most evacuees are determined to never return back to their towns no matter how well the decontamination goes. In a survey of the evacuees from Tomioka, one of the most heavily-contaminated towns, only 12 percent stated that they wanted to return to their homes. There are serious concerns on the health risks towards children living in the area. Among those factors, evacuees would have to consider the lack of jobs, groceries, and medical facilities in the towns that have been abandoned since 2011.

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