Minamisōma, Fukushima

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Minamisoma City Office
Minamisoma City Office
Flag of Minamisōma
Location of Minamisōma in Fukushima Prefecture
Location of Minamisōma in Fukushima Prefecture
Minamisōma is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 37°38′N 140°57′E / 37.633°N 140.950°E / 37.633; 140.950Coordinates: 37°38′N 140°57′E / 37.633°N 140.950°E / 37.633; 140.950
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Prefecture Fukushima Prefecture
 • Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai
 • Total 398.50 km2 (153.86 sq mi)
Population (June 1, 2013)
 • Total 64,335
 • Density 160/km2 (420/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Japanese Zelkova
- Flower Sakura
- Bird Skylark
- Fish Salmon
- Others Insect: Firefly
Address 2-27 Motomachi, Haramachi-ku, Minamisōma-shi, Fukushima-ken
Phone number 0244-22-2111
Website Minamisōma City

Minamisōma (南相馬市 Minamisōma-shi?) is a city located in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

As of May, 1, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 68,745[1] and a population density of 60 persons per km². The total area is 398.50 km².

The modern city of Minamisōma was established on January 1, 2006, from the merger of the city of Haramachi, and the towns of Kashima and Odaka (both from Sōma District).

2011 earthquake and tsunami[edit]

Minamisōma was partially inundated by the tsunami which resulted from the Tōhoku earthquake on March 11, 2011, and suffered heavy damage. As of April 9, 2011, 400 residents were confirmed dead, with 1,100 missing.[2]

Radiation monitor showing radiation at Minamisoma: 0.532 μSv/h. This equates to an annual radiation dose of 4.66 millisieverts, compared to the government's criteria for return of 20 millisieverts per year.

Minamisōma is about 25 kilometres (16 miles) north of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the nuclear accident that followed the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Much of the city lies within the mandated evacuation zone near the plant, and thus most of the residents were forced to leave.[2] Approximately a week after the earthquake Minamisōma was in the news again as the town's mayor Katsunobu Sakarai asserted that his people had been "abandoned" in the wake of orders for all remaining residents to stay in their homes inside the exclusion zone around the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.[3][4]

In July, beef from Minamisōma was found to be contaminated with radioactive cesium above the legal limit, according to the Daily Yomiuri.[5]

Lawson Shop, Minamisoma, Fukushima

On April 15, 2012 the people of Minamisōma were able to return to their homes. A ceremony was held for police and volunteers, who would patrol the borders of the no-go-areas. The checkpoints at 20 kilometer distance from the reactors were moved to about 10 kilometers from the plant.[6] The city was divided into three zones: in the first, people were free to go in and out; in the second, access was limited; and in the third area, all visiting was forbidden because of elevated radiation levels that were not expected to go down within five years after the accident. Still scattered with ruins, and with no electricity and running water, the city was a rather inhospitable place for the population formed by mostly elderly people. Schools and hospitals remained closed.[7]


  1. ^ "Estimated population May 1, 2011" (in Japanese). Official Fukushima Prefecture website. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Eerie quiet reigns in evacuation zone". Japan Times. Associated Press. 9 April 2011. p. 4. 
  3. ^ David Jones (18 March 2011). "Mayor of Town Near Fukushima Nuclear Plant Claims People Abandoned". Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  4. ^ John M. Glionna (March 31, 2011). "Anger and abandonment in a Japanese nuclear ghost town". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ NHK-World (16 April 2012) Govt. lifts evacuation order for Minamisoma City
  7. ^ "Evacuation order lifted for parts of Minamisoma". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. April 17, 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

Sasaki, Takashi (2013). Fukushima: vivir el desastre (in Spanish). Translated by F. Javier de Esteban Baquedano. Gijón, Spain: Satori Ediciones. ISBN 978-84-941125-3-9. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Minamisōma, Fukushima at Wikimedia Commons