On the main shopping street of Japan’s nuclear ghost town, only the grass growing through the tarmac, and the rust on the parked cars, tells you the tsunami and earthquake happened five years ago, not yesterday.

Along the rest of the country’s blasted east coast, the wreckage has been at least cleared away, even if not much has yet been put in its place. But in Futaba, time stopped on the night of 11 March 2011, when those residents who’d survived the giant wave fled, as they thought, for their lives from something even more frightening.

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For the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, residents of a certain town can return full-time if they wish.

The Japanese government on Saturday lifted an evacuation order for the small town of Naraha, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant in Fukushima prefecture, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.

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New evidence from Fukushima shows that as many as 2,000 people have died from necessary evacuations, writes Ian Fairlie, while another 5,000 will die from cancer. Future assessments of fatalities from nuclear disasters must include deaths from displacement-induced ill-heath and suicide in addition to those from direct radiation impacts.

“The Fukushima accident is still not over and its ill-effects will linger for a long time into the future … 2,000 Japanese people have already died from the evacuations and another 5,000 are expected to die from future cancers.”

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A trio of former top executives at a Japanese power giant are to appear in court over the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.

In a rare legal move, a citizen’s panel ruled the three Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) officials should face charges.

The decision forces prosecutors who had previously declined to act to seek an indictment.

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