1,800 people flee home of troubled Japan n-plan

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 19, 2011 09:30 hrs

Tokyo, March 19 (DPA) About 1,800 residents of a town that hosts a troubled nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan are migrating to a city near Tokyo, news reports said Saturday.

More than 1,000 residents of Futaba in Fukushima prefecture arrived Saturday at Saitama Super Arena, a large indoor stadium in the capital of Saitama prefecture, after the Fukushima plant suffered damage in the March 11 quake and tsunami that caused the cooling systems at its six nuclear reactors to fail and led to fears of meltdowns.

Japanese fire trucks doused the overheating reactors for a third day Saturday, but Futaba officials decided to move the whole town to Saitama city after releases of radiation were recorded at the plant, the Asahi newspaper reported.

Futaba residents boarded 40 buses in Kawamata in Fukushima prefecture, where they had been evacuated because their own homes are within a 20-km evacuation zone around the plant.

Town functions were to be set up in the arena because their evacuation was expected to last a long time. Many of the town's 6,900 people have taken shelter at another city.

The Saitama prefectural government said the arena could receive up to 5,000 evacuees, NHK reported.