A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has met Japanese government officials in Tokyo as part of a mission to assess progress being made on the cleanup operation underway at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The 16-member IAEA team is conducting a follow-up mission focusing on the remediation of contaminated areas surrounding the site.

Japanese officials acknowledged in July that the plant had been leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean since soon after the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent meltdowns at the plant.

The government is stepping up efforts to allow international help after it was criticised for its perceived reluctance to accept foreign expertise.

During its nine-day visit, IAEA experts will coordinate with the Japanese government and nuclear officials and will also visit the villages near the power plant.

Many Fukushima residents have not returned to their homes because of the radioactive contamination even after the Japanese government lifted evacuation advisories in certain areas.

The team leader, Juan Carlos Lentijo, who was on his fourth mission to Japan since the nuclear crisis began, said the main objective was to "reduce doses to the people."

Concerns remain high over how the lingering contamination will impact on the safety of Fukushima's inhabitants.

Source: Associated Press