Iitate, Fukushima

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Iitate
飯舘村
Village
Iitate Village Office
Iitate Village Office
Flag of Iitate
Flag
Official seal of Iitate
Seal
Location of Iitate in Fukushima Prefecture
Location of Iitate in Fukushima Prefecture
Iitate is located in Japan
Iitate
Iitate
 
Coordinates: 37°40′44.4″N 140°44′06.8″E / 37.679000°N 140.735222°E / 37.679000; 140.735222Coordinates: 37°40′44.4″N 140°44′06.8″E / 37.679000°N 140.735222°E / 37.679000; 140.735222
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Prefecture Fukushima
District Sōma
Area
 • Total 230.13 km2 (88.85 sq mi)
Population (May 1, 2017)
 • Total 41
 • Density 0.18/km2 (0.5/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
- Tree Pinus densiflora
- Flower Lilium auratum
- Bird Japanese bush-warbler
Phone number 24-562-4200
Address 580-1 Itazawa, Iitate-mura, Soma-gun, Fukushima-ken 960-1892
Website http://www.vill.iitate.fukushima.jp/

Iitate (飯舘村, Iitate-mura) is a village located in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 May 2017, the village had an actual population of 41, and a population density of 0.18 persons per km². The registered population per village government records was 5,946 registered residents in 1807 households as of September 30, 2017.[1] The total area the village is 230.13 square kilometres (88.85 sq mi).

Geography[edit]

Iitate is located in the Abukuma Plateau of northeastern Fukushima at a mean altitude of 500 meters. It is about 39 kilometres (24 miles) northwest of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Surrounding municipalities[edit]

Climate[edit]

Iitate has a humid climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). The average annual temperature in Iitate is 10.2 °C. The average annual rainfall is 1359 mm with September as the wettest month.The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 22.9 °C, and lowest in January, at around -1.2 °C.[2]

Demographics[edit]

Per Japanese census data,[3] the population of Minamisōma peaked ar around the year 1990.

Census Year Population
1970 9,385
1980 8,331
1990 7,920
2000 7,093
2010 6,209

History[edit]

The area of present-day Iitate was part of Mutsu Province. During the Edo period, the area was part of the holdings of Sōma Domain. After the Meiji restoration, on April 1, 1889, the villages of Iiso, Osu and Niitate were created within Sōma District, Fukushima. On April 1, 1942, Osu and Niitate merged to form the village of Odate, which then merged with Iiso on September 30, 1956 to form Iitate. In September 2010, Iitate was designated one of The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan.[4]

2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster[edit]

Iitate suffered from moderate damage from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, and was located outside the nominal 30 kilometres (19 miles) radiation exclusion zone of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. However, as a result of wind patterns following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, on 30 March 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that its operational criteria for evacuation were exceeded in Iitate, despite the village being outside the existing radiation exclusion zone around the plant.[5] As a result, the entire population of the village was evacuated by government order on 22 April 2011.[6] Some displaced children from the village were shunned after relocating for fear of contamination.[7][8] In early June about 1,500 residents remained.[6] By August, only about 120 residents, mostly elderly, remained.[9]

In 2012, local government obtained responses from a survey from some 1,743 former residents began experiencing growing frustration and instability due to the nuclear crisis and an inability to return to the lives they were living before the disaster. Sixty percent of respondents stated that their health and the health of their families had deteriorated after evacuating.[10]

Summarizing all responses to questions related to evacuees' current family status, one-third of all surveyed families live apart from their children, while 50.1 percent live away from other family members (including elderly parents) with whom they lived before the disaster. The survey also showed that 34.7 percent of the evacuees have suffered reductions in income of 50 percent or more since the outbreak of the nuclear disaster. A total of 36.8 percent reported a lack of sleep, while 17.9 percent reported smoking or drinking more than before they evacuated.[10]

In March 2012, the village was divided into three zones: in the first, people were free to go in and out but not allowed to stay overnight; in the second, access was limited to short visits; and in the third area, all entry was forbidden because of elevated radiation levels that were not expected to go down within five years after the accident. All restrictions were to be lifted for a small area of northern Iitate, but the majority of the village was cleared only for the daylight return of residents. The majority of the village was to remain totally closed until at least 2016.[11] However, in March 2014, the government postponed lifting of the restrictions on return for a year due to remaining high levels of radiation.[12][13]

The evacuation order was lifted on April 1, 2017, with the exception of a small area in southern Iitate bordering on the neighbouring town of Namiie, which remains a no-entry zone. However, only a third of the former residents expressed an intention of returning.[14]

Economy[edit]

The economy of Iitate was formerly heavily dependent on agriculture.

Education[edit]

Iitate had three public elementary schools and one public junior high school operated by the village, and one high school operated by the Fukushima Board of Education in March 2011. All schools were closed with the evacuation of the village in March 2011.

Transportation[edit]

Railway[edit]

  • Iitate is not served by any passenger train services.

Highway[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Iitate village official home page(in Japanese)}
  2. ^ Iitate climate data
  3. ^ Sōma population statistics
  4. ^ Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Japan Archived 2015-02-15 at the Wayback Machine. (in Japanese)
  5. ^ Sylvia Westall and Fredrik Dahl (30 March 2011). "High radiation outside Japan exclusion zone: IAEA". Reuters. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Eric Talmadge (8 June 2011). "Japanese village's nuclear reality sets in slowly". Associated Press. Google. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  7. ^ David McNeill (13 May 2011). "Fukushima village on way to becoming ghost town". Japan Times. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Japan evacuates residents beyond Fukushima no-go zone". BBC. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Yuka Hayashi (16 August 2011). "Murky Science Clouded Japan Nuclear Response". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Evacuees of Fukushima village report split families, growing frustration". Mainichi Daily News. January 30, 2012. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Iitate evacuation relaxed", World Nuclear News, July 16, 2012.
  12. ^ "Lifting of Fukushima villages’ evacuation advisory to be delayed ", the Japan Times, March 1, 2014.
  13. ^ Myoraku, Asao "Fukushima villages face 1-year delay in lifting of evacuation orders Archived 2015-02-10 at the Wayback Machine.", the Asahi Shimbun, February 28, 2014.
  14. ^ "Evacuation orders lifted for three more Fukushima areas but residents slow to return". The Japan Times. March 31, 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Iitate, Fukushima at Wikimedia Commons