Japan on Monday expanded evacuation areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the killer earthquake and tsunami a month ago, due to high amounts of cumulative radioactive materials beyond the evacuation zone of a 20-kilometer radius from the plant.
The government's decision comes amid persistent calls from the international community to expand the government-designated evacuation areas due to health risks of continued exposure to radioactive substances.
At present, those who live in the 20-km range must evacuate while those in the 20-30 km radius ring are asked to stay indoors.
Top government spokesman Yukio Edano told a press conference that accumulated radioactive substances have been observed in the newly designated areas due to weather and geographical conditions and while he said locals need not evacuate immediately, they should do so in around one month.
The question is not the short term evacuations but rather what the long term exclusion zones will be. Example the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone is about 19 miles in the Ukraine. While there are a few people who still live there the goverment removed over 120,000 people, living in 90 communities in the zone.''There is a possibility that if people continue living in these affected areas for six months or one year, accumulated radiation quantities would become even higher,'' Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said.
How big and how many people will the permanent zone of exclusion in Japan will be is the question that no one has an answer for yet.