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Ahead of Fukushima anniversary residents worry about future of affected areas

Locals say the future will depend on young people returning and so far there's only a handful, amid lingering fears about radioactivity

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Ahead of Fukushima anniversary residents worry about future of affected areas

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Five years after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, bags full of radioactive dirt and debris are still visible nearby.

Point of view

It became an environment where people could not live safely and comfortably ever again

Ahead of the anniversary on March the 11th reporters visited a town 20 kilometres away, the first in the area to fully reopen.

But for some of the few residents who have returned to Nahara, there’s little hope for the future of the town.

76-year-old Buddhist priest Tokuo Hayakawa said: “After coming back, I knew I would see the end of this region, this town. It became an environment where people could not live safely and comfortably ever again.”

It is reported that less than six percent of residents have returned.

Locals say the future will depend on young people returning and so far there’s only a handful, amid lingering fears about radioactivity.

Authorities maintain the presence of radiation has dropped to levels below what’s considered safe.

However, the chief decommissioning officer of the Fukushima nuclear plant admits that the melted nuclear fuel has still not been located.

On Monday three former TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power) executives were charged over claims they failed to enforce the necessary safety measures to prevent the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

State prosecutors failed to lay charges in the case, citing a lack of evidence, but the new indictments were forced through by what is known as a “civilian judicial panel”.