Japan gov't to legally enforce no-go zone around Fukushima nuke plant

11:09, April 21, 2011      

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The crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant is seen in Fukushima Prefecture in this undated handout photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) April 14, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The Japanese government will prohibit people from entering an area within a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the government said Thursday.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced the "no-entry" policy will be effective from midnight Thursday while visiting the Fukushima Prefecture in the morning.

Chief Cabinet Officer Yukio Edano said at a press conference all roads and access routes into the area will be completely sealed off. Persons violating the new governmental directive, including evacuated residents who live within the no-go zone, could face legal repercussions and will be forcibly removed.

The restricted zone is already covered by an evacuation directive from the central government, but local residents have become concerned about their homes being burgled and the area has seen increasing numbers of residents going back to their homes to collect items of financial and sentimental value, as the previous directive was on a voluntary basis.

Under the government's new mandate however, residents will be allowed a supervised visit to collect items of value and other necessities and following this will have access to their homes cut off.

Between 70,000 and 80,000 local residents in 10 districts in Fukushima Prefecture within the 20-kilometer radius evacuation zone have already relocated to other places, with some opting to move out of the prefecture and even the country.

Source: Xinhua
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