Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited the Fukushima prefecture as the 20-km evacuation area around the crippled nuclear power plant was officially declared a no-go zone on Thursday, Japan Today reported.
The authorities officially banned all unauthorized entry to areas within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant starting from midnight local time.
The prime minister was “to discuss the plans for strict enforcement of the evacuation zone” with local officials and evacuees during his visit, the news portal said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the move was aimed at preventing radiation exposure and looting.
Until Thursday, police could not legally deny entry to evacuees, who returned to their homes after the evacuation announcement on March 12. Japanese officials plan to organize short trips for residents willing to collect their belongings in the near future.
Despite growing concern of radioactive fallout on the Russian territory, the Russian emergencies ministry said that radiation levels in Russia’s Far East remained within the norm and ranged from 11 to 19 micro roentgen per hour on Thursday.
Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was seriously damaged by a powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. Fukushima’s operator has since been struggling to stop radioactive leaks from the plant’s crippled reactors. Almost 80,000 people living within the evacuation zone were forced to flee their homes.
MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti)