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Small radiation hot spots in Fukushima to be declared safe (Japan Times/Jiji, Dec 22, 2014):

The government said it will declare that all remaining designated radiation hot spots in residential areas in Fukushima Prefecture are safe for residents. The move does not affect the main exclusion zone, which remains in place.

This Sunday, officials will lift an evacuation advisory for 142 locations in the city of Minamisoma, which will affect 152 households, Yosuke Takagi, state minister of economy, trade and industry, said this weekend during a briefing to residents.

Amid complaints from residents, Takagi said the decision was based on rules that allow hot spot designations to be lifted once radiation levels fall following decontamination work.

In June 2011, three months after the triple reactor meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the government designated 260 places in the cities of Minamisoma and Date and the village of Kawauchi as hot spots where annual radiation doses for residents could exceed 20 millisieverts. Evacuations were advised.

Date and Kawauchi were declared free of hot spots in December 2012.

In October this year, the government indicated it would add Minamisoma to the list within the month. But it postponed doing so amid concerns among residents that radiation levels remained high.

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