Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the government will continue the task of decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The nuclear accident at the plant in 2011 was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan.
Abe visited Fukushima Prefecture on Sunday to inspect the decommissioning work and the ongoing reconstruction of the prefecture.
He attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of a new municipal office in the town of Okuma.
An evacuation order was lifted for two districts of Okuma on Wednesday. This was the first lifting of restrictions in a town hosting the plant.
Abe then visited the plant for the first time in five years and seven months.
He encouraged workers taking part in the decommissioning project, and handed them a letter of thanks.
Abe later told reporters that his cabinet ministers are united in reconstructing Fukushima Prefecture as well as northeastern Japan after the 2011 disaster. He said they have reconfirmed his administration's basic policy that they are all reconstruction ministers.
He said that although the decommissioning work has been making steady progress, there are still many problems to cope with. These include the disposal of contaminated water accumulating in the plant compound. Abe said the project is facing a crucial moment. He said he plans to visit the prefecture again at the start of the torch relay for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.