Japan Enforces No-Go Nuclear Plant Zone
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Japanese authorities have agreed to enforce a restricted zone within a 12-mile radius around the radiation-leaking Fukushima Dai-Ichi power complex on the northeast coast of the country.
People who enter the restricted zone will be subject to fines of up to 100,000 yen, or $1,200, and could face possible detention of up to 30 days, under the special nuclear emergency law that has been put in place, The Associated Press reported.
|A man wearing a protective suit retrieves his belongings in the deserted town of Futaba, inside the 12-mile evacuation zone in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.|
"We will take strict legal measures against those trying to enter the area," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a news conference. "For residents, all I can say is I ask for their understanding so that no legal action will be taken against them."
Tens of thousands of Japanese civilians within a 12-mile radius of the complex were forced to leave their homes after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11 severely damaged the nuclear plant, causing radiation to leak into the air, sea and soil.Now those evacuated residents are growing frustrated as the crisis continues to drag on, and some have been returning to their homes despite warnings of possibly hazardous radiation levels. Before Thursday's implementation of the restricted zone, defiance of the evacuation order was not punishable by law. Residents within the no-go zone will be allowed to arrange brief visits to their homes. Authorities are letting one person per household return for a maximum of two hours to collect any necessary belongings. "We beg the understanding of residents. We really want residents not to enter the areas," Edano told reporters. The order to prohibit entry in the surrounding areas was not due to any specific change in conditions inside the plant. However, even under the best-case scenario, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power said it will take at least six to nine months to completely stabilize the reactors. Officials have also acknowledged that setbacks could slow this timeline.
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