An evacuation order in place since the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011 will be partially lifted in one of two municipalities where the facility is located.
State minister of industry Yoshihiko Isozaki told reporters on Tuesday that radiation levels have fallen significantly. He said as a result, starting April 10 two districts representing about 40 percent of Okuma Town will be excluded from the evacuation order.
374 people or about 3.6 percent of the town's population have registered addresses in the districts.
Okuma town hall has been operating in a temporary facility about 100 kilometers away. A new town hall will open in one of the districts on April 14 and begin operations on May 7.
Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe said he is proud that Okuma town has finally taken this first step. He said he will take measures to create a comfortable place to live.
Fukushima vice governor Masaaki Suzuki said this is just the beginning of reconstruction. He said it is important to have facilities in place so residents who return can feel safe.