Normal everyday life can be conducted in most of Fukushima Prefecture, just like anywhere else. The "difficult-to-return zones" where entry is basically prohibited cover an area of approximately 337 square kilometers, equivalent to roughly 2.4% of the prefecture. Compared to immediately after the nuclear power station accident, the "areas under evacuation orders" have decreased, and radiation dose levels are coming down every year.
In August 2013, following confirmation that the nuclear reactors had entered the cold shutdown state, a full review of the areas under evacuation orders was conducted. As a result, the following area designations were adopted:
- "Difficult-to-return zones": Areas in which radiation dose exceeds 50mSv/year
- "Restricted residence areas": Areas where the radiation dose is between more than 20 mSv/year and 50mSv/year
- "Zones in preparation for the lifting of evacuation orders": Areas where the radiation dose is 20mSv/year or less
Starting in 2014, evacuation orders have gradually been lifted until orders only remain in the "difficult-to-return zones" as of March 2020. Moreover, in parts of the "difficult-to-return zones" too, the preparatory lifting of evacuation orders is being conducted around railway stations and so on in areas where the radiation dose is less than 20 mSv/year.