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Japan No-go Zone

April 21, 2011 by staff 

Japan No-go Zone, More than a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami caused the worst nuclear crisis in Japan, Japan has made it illegal to come within 12 miles of the plant in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power.
Thursday’s decision to declare the area around the nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi an exclusion zone has aggravated the difficulties faced by tens of thousands of Japanese forced to leave their homes after 11 March by the tsunami, as well as a troubled Prime Minister Naoto Kan

Despite signs of progress in bringing damaged reactor of the plant under control, the government banned the entry of residents of the 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the disposal area due to concerns about high levels of accumulated radiation.

After midnight Thursday local time, anyone found entering the area without permission could be fined up to 100,000 yen (and 1220) or detained for a maximum of 30 days. Previously, police had been unable to enforce the evacuation order for the area, once home to some 80,000 people.

A few hours after the announcement, a steady stream of evacuees rushed back to their homes some have not seen for nearly six weeks to collect clothes and valuables before the order took effect.

Nobody knows when, if ever, to be able to return permanently. The nuclear plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said it would take up to nine months to reduce radiation levels and stabilization of the plant.

But the company and the government have avoided the question of when the evacuees could return.

The government’s chief spokesman, Yukio Edan, said one member of each household would be allowed to spend up to two hours in the area to collect their belongings, adding that it would be able to make several visits.

Evacuees will be bused to the area under police escort for the next one or two months. Will be required to wear protective clothing and submit to the detection of radiation at its output.

Mr. Edan said that anyone found trying to break the order would be punished. “All I can do is ask the residents to understand that no legal action will be taken against them,” he said.

Principal concern of the authorities is the accumulation of radioactivity in areas near the plant, where cattle are left to die and contaminated bodies of an estimated 1,000 people are without pay.

Last week, the government added five locations outside the evacuation zone to the list of areas that could threaten long-term health.

“The plant is not stable,” Edan said. “We’ve been asking residents not to enter the area as there is a great risk to their safety.”

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been criticized for his handling of the crisis, with almost 70 percent of people in a recent survey by the Nikkei business newspaper asking him to make way for a new leader.

On Thursday, Mr. Kan was harangued during a visit to an evacuation center in the prefecture of Fukushima. “Are you going?” Shouted a man as Khan and his aides left the building. Khan returned to apologize, but a woman, who said, criticized him again: “You must bring cabinet ministers here and let try to live here. How do you think he feels?”

A clear punished Kan acknowledged that he had underestimated the depth of feelings of nuclear evacuees. “I have to put myself in their shoes and think more about their needs,” he said.

The demands of residents for the Fukushima plant under control are unlikely to be met soon, however. Workers have just started storing radioactive water that has accumulated inside buildings turbine reactor.

The accumulation of water has prevented them gauge the extent of damage to fuel rods and repair of domestic refrigeration systems knocked out by the earthquake and tsunami.

At the beginning of the month, TEPCO was forced to pump contaminated water into the sea, angering neighbors South Korea and China. The amount of radiation contained in the pumped water to 20,000 times the permitted outdoors each year by the nuclear safety agency in Japan, Kyodo News reported.

Days after thanked the international community for its support during the greatest crisis in postwar history of Japan, Kan on Thursday expressed “extreme regret” of the nuclear crisis in a letter published in the Chinese press.

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