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Ex-mayor of nuclear-reliant village voices opposition to nuclear power

The former mayor of a village that had a pioneering role in Japan's nuclear development expressed his opposition Sunday to the nation continuing to look to nuclear power as an energy source. "It has been said that a local community can enjoy benefits by hosting a nuclear power plant, but it is just an illusion," Tatsuya Murakami, who served as mayor of Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, for 16 years until his retirement last September, told a public gathering in Tokyo.

Japan issues tsunami alert after Chile quake

Japan issued a tsunami alert early Thursday following a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake across the Pacific Ocean in Chile but said it was not likely to cause damage. The Japan Meteorological Agency said a tsunami of up to one metre (three feet) above normal sea levels may hit eastern Pacific coast regions. The first waves are forecast to hit northern Hokkaido at around 5:00 am (2000 GMT Wednesday) and an hour later in Fukushima prefecture, which was devastated by the 2011 tsunami, Kyodo News agency reported.

Japanese families torn as return to Fukushima 'hot zone' begins

By Mari Saito TAMURA, Japan (Reuters) - People in Japan on Tuesday began their first homecomings in three years to a small area evacuated after the Fukushima disaster, but families are divided as worries about radiation and poor job prospects have kept many away. The reopening of the Miyakoji area of Tamura, a city 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Tokyo and inland from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear station, marks a tiny step for Japan as it attempts to recover from the 2011 disasters.

Some 860,000 new recruits in Japan mark 1st day at work

Some 860,000 new recruits at companies across Japan marked their first day of work Tuesday, the starting day of the country's fiscal 2014. Central and local governments as well as many private-sector companies held welcome ceremonies for the new recruits.

Gov't scales down evacuation zones around damaged nuclear plant

The government on Tuesday scaled down areas in Fukushima Prefecture subject to evacuation orders since the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. As of midnight, the government lifted its evacuation order for part of the Miyakoji district in the city of Tamura -- the first case of an evacuation order being lifted on an area within a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima plant.

Worker at Japan's meltdown-hit nuclear plant dies in mudslide in first accident casualty

TOKYO - A worker died Friday after getting buried in a mudslide at the Japanese nuclear plant devastated by the 2011 tsunami, in the first death during efforts to control and decommission the facility. The man, who had been working near a storage area at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, was dug out and rushed to a hospital, but he was unconscious and his heart had stopped beating. Three hours after the mudslide swallowed him, the man, who was in his 50s, was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates the plant.

Residents of evacuation zone in Kawauchi to stay home overnight

The Japanese government is considering allowing residents of an evacuation zone located within a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to stay at their homes overnight for three months from April 26, government sources said Sunday. As of the end of December, 330 residents of 152 households in the zone of Kawauchi village, Fukushima Prefecture, were still in evacuation housing after the nuclear plant was severely damaged by the huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Former Japan PM Kan tells Germans that Fukushima crisis unresolved

Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told German lawmakers on Tuesday that the Fukushima nuclear crisis remains unresolved, while also criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government for its push to restart reactors. "It remains a fact that the accident is going on," said Kan, who was prime minister when the Fukushima Daiinichi plant was crippled after a major quake and tsunami three years ago. "Despite that, the (governing) Liberal Democratic Party is trying to reboot many nuclear power plants."

Former Japan PM Kan tells Germans that Fukushima crisis unresolved

Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told German lawmakers on Tuesday that the Fukushima nuclear crisis remains unresolved, while also criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government for its push to restart reactors. "It remains a fact that the accident is going on," said Kan, who was prime minister when the Fukushima Daiinichi plant was crippled after a major quake and tsunami three years ago. "Despite that, the (governing) Liberal Democratic Party is trying to reboot many nuclear power plants."

Land prices rise in Japan's 3 major metropolitan areas

Residential land prices in Japan's three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya rose by an average of 0.5 percent in the 12 months to Jan. 1, while commercial land prices there increased by an average of 1.6 percent, both rising for the first time in six years, the government said Tuesday.
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