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Japan to reopen three towns near Fukushima plant

United Kingdom,Crime/Disaster/Accident, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 IANS

London, March 31 (IANS) Around 16,000 people who were evacuated last year after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan will return to their homes Sunday when three towns reopen, Sky News reported.


The towns were designated "no-go zones" due to their close proximity to the plant.


Kawauchi and Tamura will reopen Sunday, but people will be allowed back into Minamisoma in mid-April.


"We have decided to revise the restriction bans placed on the evacuation areas," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was quoted as saying.


Some parts of the reopened towns will remain off-limits because of high exposure levels.


The plant was severely damaged by an earthquake of 8.9 magnitude March 11, 2011.


The quake triggered a tsunami, leaving almost 20,000 people dead or missing, and caused the world's worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl disaster, contaminating the water and land around the facility.


The government evacuated 11 cities and towns within a 20-km radius of the plant.


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