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Returning home after Fukushima

Reiko Hasegawa

Voluntary return is one of the pillars of durable solutions proposed for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) under the international normative framework and human rights instruments. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident that occurred in March 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, displaced more than 150,000 persons as a large amount of radioactive materials were released into the sea and the atmosphere from crippled reactors. Four years later, many of these evacuees remain displaced, unable or hesitant to return home, due to radiological and social consequences caused by the disaster. This policy brief seeks to examine the case of Fukushima evacuees with a special focus on the question of return and attempts to make policy recommendations, specifically tailored to deal with the nuclear displacement. It explores ways in which genuine durable solutions can be found for their case in line with international protection guidelines for IDPs.