(LinkAsia: April 20, 2012)
Now we all know that Asia is prone to earthquakes, and two decades ago, the Philippines faced its own 7.8-magnitude quake in Luzon that killed more than 1,600 people. And now, a year after Japan's deadly 9.0 earthquake, some evacuees are being allowed to return to the No Go Zone for the first time. Here's the story from NHK.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: April 18, 2012
Japan's central government lifted entry restrictions for the 20-kilometer evacuation zone covering Kawauchi village and Tamura city this month. The government added Minamisoma city to the list.
Residents can visit most of the city, but not the high-radiation areas deemed unsafe for extended periods of time. Overnight stays are not yet allowed.
Resident Yoshikazu Takeuchi went to his home with his wife and mother. After the evacuation, Takeuchi ran his construction materials store at a different location in the city. He says he hopes to reopen the store at its original location now that the entry ban has been lifted.
Yoshikazu Takeuchi, Minamisoma Resident:
"Reconstruction has finally started. I hope we can work together so that people can return to the city and live there again."
Much more work has to be done around the damaged nuclear power plant before residents can return to the city to live. Full-fledged efforts to clean up debris, decontaminate and restore infrastructure have yet to begin.
Katsunobu Sakurai, Minamisoma Mayor:
"We will tell the central government that it's responsible for the lack of infrastructure and for providing compensation for damages from the nuclear accident."
The city's network of hospitals and clinics is one important part of Minamisoma's infrastructure recovery. At one point after the nuclear crisis, the number of doctors in the Minami-Soma Municipal General Hospital fell from twelve to just four.