More urged to leave Japanese nuclear plant area

The Japanese government is urging even more people to evacuate the area around a crippled nuclear plant which has been spewing radiation since a tsunami swamped its cooling systems a month ago.

People living within 12 miles (20km) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, 140 miles (220km) north-east of Tokyo, have already been ordered to leave because of concerns about radiation in the air. Other people further out had been advised to stay indoors.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said today that residents of four communities, some more than 20 miles (30km) from the plant, are being urged to leave within a month.

Mr Edano said it is not an emergency and that residents do not have to get out immediately, but high radiation levels have been detected in some places and there are concerns about long-term health risks.