Sunday’s tremors were felt as far away as Tokyo, but no casualties or damage reports were released at the time.
The news comes just ahead of one of the most dangerous nuclear cleanup operations ever attempted. Scheduled to start at the beginning of November, it will involve the careful, manual removal of 400 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods from the plant’s Reactor No. 4 - with an atomic yield greater than the Hiroshima bomb. The long and cumbersome operation will not permit even the slightest tremor, or Japan risks a catastrophe greater than Chernobyl.
Meanwhile, a Japanese official from the government’s ruling party disagrees with a plan to allow people back, who escaped the Fukushima disaster on the grounds that habitable areas have not yet been identified by the government.
The evacuation was precipitated by huge amounts of radiation released into the air and sea, following the 2011 reactor meltdowns, which had been a result of an earthquake-induced tsunami.