The Japanese government says it will prepare by the end of August a basic plan for decontaminating areas near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Monday asked the nuclear crisis minister, Goshi Hosono, to begin compiling the steps that must be taken.
The government is planning to lift the designation soon of the zone extending from 20 to 30 kilometers away from the nuclear plant where residents have been told they must evacuate in the event of another emergency.
The measure would allow the return of some people who have left voluntarily, although worries about radiation persist among the affected communities.
The government plans to ease such concerns by adding more manpower to a taskforce in charge of decontamination.
The basic plan could also call for closer analyses of contaminated crops and plants to find out whether the radiation came from the air or soil.