Some of the evacuees from the town of Okuma, west of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power disaster site, have been invited to return to their homes, which have been declared safe for habitation, Japanese media reports.
The response to the invitation to return to the town has been decidedly mixed, the reports say. Less than 50 residents out of 376 who pre-registered as seeking to return, have now signed in for overnight stays at their former homes. Meanwhile, prior to the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami events that triggered a triple reactor meltdown at the plant, the population of Okuma was 10,341.
About 40 percent of the town has been declared safe for residents to return. Portions of the town, meanwhile, are in use as interim storage sites for toxic soil from the area. The government has yet to figure out where the soil will be shipped for permanent storage.
The government has pledged to remove the soil by 2045.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to attend a ceremony marking the re-opening of the town. However, the government has been accused of opening the town as a publicity stunt to show the world that life is returning to normal in Japan ahead of the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo.
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