“Politicians should have specified a long time ago the areas where evacuees will not be able to return, and presented plans to help them rebuild their lives elsewhere,” Toshitaka Kakinuma, a 71-year-old Okuma resident living in nearby Iwaki, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
But the Asahi Shimbun, citing leaked transcripts of testimony from the plant’s then manager, Masao Yoshida, revealed this week that of the 720 workers present when a reactor building exploded on 15 March, 650 fled to another power plant about six miles (10km) away. Yoshida died of cancer last July.
Tepco is hoping to receive the go-ahead to restart its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the biggest atomic facility in the world, in Niigata prefecture early next year. The firm believes that if all seven of the plant’s reactors were restarted it could save $1bn (£623m) a month on fuel costs.