The 12.5 miles surrounding the foundering Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant are now officially off limits, the Japanese government announced yesterday. Until now, the government had merely advised people that entering the evacuation zone was a bad idea, but many residents ignored that advice, venturing in to retrieve their possessions or even refusing to leave altogether, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Neighbors and local government officials have expressed fears that those venturing into the zone will carry radiation back with them. “Often, some people threw away the protective gear they had been wearing on the street when they came back from the zone,” says the Fukushima prefecture official in charge of the evacuees. “Vehicles often come back without properly getting cleaned.” (Read more Japan earthquake stories.)