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Japan lifts no-entry ban for coastal city

Updated: 2012-04-16 13:55
( Xinhua)

TOKYO - The Japanese government on Monday lifted a no-entry ban imposed on a coastal city which is near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

A police checkpoint located about 20 km from the crippled plant was removed when the ban was lifted at Minamisoma City in northeastern Fukushima Prefecture at midnight on Monday.

A new checkpoint was set up about 10 km from the plant at a border between Minamisoma and Namie Town instead, the public broadcaster NHK reported.

Minamisoma was the first coastal city neighboring the nuclear power plant to have its restriction removed. Similar ban for Kawauchi Village and Tamura City, also in the northeastern prefecture, were lifted earlier this month.

The Japanese government announced a policy to prohibit people from entering an area within a 20-km radius of the crippled plant in last April. According to the order, all roads and access routes into the area were sealed off.

Though access was permitted, it still takes time for the residents of the city whose homes were in the no-entry zone to rebuild their lives, because the decontamination work had not been carried out due to the restriction.  

Japanese Prime Minster Yoshihiko Noda told foreign media including Xinhua at a press conference last month that beginning in April, the government will do its utmost to phase out warnings on part of the no-entry zones.

More than 1,000 billion yen ($12.23 billion) will be spent in decontaminating the area affected by last year's nuclear accident. A great part of the money would be channelled to decontaminate the residential areas surrounding the Fukushima plant, Noda said.

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