Japan: Radioactive cleanup to be covered by state

The government will be responsible for removing radioactive materials from all areas with levels exceeding 1 millisievert per year — stricter than the 5 millisieverts initially considered — according to an Environment Ministry preliminary report that stops short of saying where the waste will be temporarily, or permanently, stored.

The changed threshold came after many local governments lashed out, prompting Environment Minister Goshi Hosono to repeatedly say the central government will expand the areas it takes responsibility for.

Under the plan, the government will aim to halve radiation levels by August 2013 from August 2011 in areas whose contamination runs between 1 and 20 millisieverts per year.

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