KUALA LUMPUR — Japan’s Fukushima, the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, is now well on the road to recovery with displaced residents returning home and tourism related activities gaining momentum.
Thanks to the Japanese government’s reconstruction efforts and decontamination activities, added with decreasing radiation levels, the place is safe for occupation and is no longer a ghost town.
The Japanese government has been steadily opening up the areas under Fukushima prefecture allowing former residents to return, with some 30,000 people still being displaced 11 years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
“Life in Fukushima prefecture is edging back to normal in the aftermath of nuclear disaster in the region in 2011.
“Following a colossal campaign to remove contaminated soil and wash down buildings and roads in the area, radiation readings above ground are now stable at safe levels,” Director of Recovery from Nuclear Disaster Section of Japan, Taishi Nakami told international media when met during the sidelines of the 4th ASEAN-Japan Smart Cities Network High Level Meeting held at Fukushima on Dec 4-5.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster which was termed the world’s second-worst disaster after Chernobyl, saw nearly 18,500 casualties caused by the earthquake and the accompanying tsunami. More than 160,000 people had to be evacuated from the town due to radiation fears following the meltdown of the nuclear reactors.
Taishi added that there were a large number of radiation monitoring posts in Fukushima, with the data showing radiation level as the same compared with major cities around the world or even sometimes much lower.
“So residents who wish to return to Fukushima can do so as the dangerous substance from the nuclear power plant has been removed and disposed of.
“Infrastructure like roads, railways, hospitals and supermarket are operating as usual and the life in the region is coming back to normal,” he added.
Question asked on the concern of many foreign tourists including from Malaysia whether it is safe to visit the coastal region of Fukushima, Taishi provided assurance that most areas of the prefecture have been decontaminated and thus it is safe for tourists.
He said now that Japan has lifted pandemic travel restrictions and reopened its borders to all overseas visitors, subject to vaccine and testing requirements, the country hopes to see tourism in the Fukushima prefecture rebound.
Taishi also said that the reconstruction efforts in Fukushima has gained world attention with the reopening of J-Village, Japan’s first national training centre for football.
In 1997, J-Village was founded in Fukushima as the nation’s first ever National Football Centre. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the venue was utilised as the support base for the nuclear power plant accident and lost its function as the football centre.
However, in July 2018, J-Village was re-established to serve its original purpose as the venue resumed part of its operation to facilitate training camps and tournaments for the country’s women’s national football team (Nadeshiko Japan).
The delegates of the 4th ASEAN-Japan Smart Cities Network High Level Meeting were given the opportunity to witness themselves the reconstruction in Fukushima, including making a visit to the nuclear power plant, besides the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum.
The delegation consisted of representatives from 10-member ASEAN countries including three media personnel from Malaysia, the Philippines and Cambodia.
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