Japan's Environment Ministry was forced to acknowledge Monday that the decontamination of six towns around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant will have to be delayed by up to three years.
The clean-up was originally due to be complete by next March, but has been pushed back mostly due to lack of storage for contaminated cooling water from damaged reactors.
The Fukushima plant has been hit by continuous toxic leaks, with the latest reported on Sunday after heavy rainfall in the nation.
The plant's operator, TEPCO, said the toxic isotope Strontium-90 overflowed from containment barriers around water tanks at the plant.
The ministry's announcement means more than 90-thousand people won't be able to return home until 2017.