Japan lifted restrictions Sunday on several towns that were designated no-go areas following last year’s giant earthquake and tsunami on its north-east coast.
Three of the 11 towns that registered high levels of radiation after the subsequent meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have had their entry bans relaxed.
The plant was shut down and a 20 kilometre radius exclusion zone was set up forcing nearly 80,000 people to leave their homes. But despite roadblocks being lifted, many residents are not expected to return permanently just yet. Schools and other local amenities will remain shut as radiation levels continue to be monitored.
Last March’s Fukushima incident was the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Last December, officials said that the plant was now in “cold shutdown”, a more stable, manageable state. But more than 12 months on, the public is still sceptical about its safety.