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Fukushima exclusion zone opens for small group of residents

Residents of the Miyakoji area of Tamura in Japan have been presented with the opportunity to return home for the first time in three years. Until now, their homes were in the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone.

On Tuesday, a total of 355 residents were given the opportunity to return to their homes previously inside the nuclear exclusion zone surrounding Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Miyakoji had been off-limits to residents since March 2011 when a tsunami struck the Fukushima plant and triggered a nuclear meltdown. Since then, officials had ruled the area too dangerous to inhabit because of high levels of nuclear radiaton.

Now, however, radiation levels have dropped low enough in Miyakoji that officials have deemed it safe to return.

But not all residents are convinced it is safe, and some have opted to continue to stay away.

Around 130,000 people in total were forced to leave their homes after the nuclear disaster.

mz/tj (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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