Friday, March 25, 2011

Japan steps up nuclear plant precautions; Kan apologizes

Japan's government Friday urged residents living within 18 miles of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant to voluntarily leave their homes and suggested that officials could expand the mandatory evacuation zone.

People living within 12 miles of the plant have been evacuated, yet those living between 12 and 18 miles of the facility have been told it is safe to remain as long as they stay indoors. But two weeks after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country and hobbled the plant, causing radiation to leak, the situation has yet to be resolved.

"It has become increasingly difficult for goods to arrive, and life has become harder," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a news conference. He called upon local governments in the zone near the plant to encourage people to leave. It was not immediately clear how many people remained within 18 miles of the plant.

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