"At a hamlet in a mountainous area where decontamination was attempted last autumn, airborne radiation was recently found to have returned to 2 microsieverts per hour, the same as it was beforehand and too high for human habitation, local officials said.
"I imagine it's cesium dust coming from the hill behind the village," a local chief lamented. "All we can do is decontaminate the area again, but there is nowhere to store the soil."
Minamisoma, one of the municipalities most affected by the nuclear crisis, is among 111 municipalities in eight prefectures designated in January by the central government as a "priority area" for decontamination.
Anticipating a storage space shortage, the central government has been advocating the "upside-down" method of storage — which actually means burying the tainted topsoil below that excavated from further down, instead of collecting it for storage.
This method has been strongly criticized, especially by those who were forced to leave their hometowns behind.
"This is simply a measure to reduce (radiation)," an official in the deserted Fukushima village of Katsurao angrily said. "It's nothing more than an attempt to conceal radioactive substances."