Fukushima Daiichi, five years later

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A welcoming banner in one of the abandoned small towns immediately outside the ruined Fukushima Daiichi power plant says “Nuclear Power is Our Future.”
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Even supposedly safe areas are marked by a significant increase in radioactivity, including disturbingly high hot spots. Here, in a parking lot Itoh Tatsuya takes a reading of radiation levels near the ground at J-Village, a sports complex outside the worst-hit zone. The Geiger counter needle went off the scale.
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Here in the village of Namie, the elementary school looks as if everyday life had stopped mid-stream. Children’s lockers still contain small boxes of crayons, waiting to be used, more than five years after the incident. (The children, miraculously, survived, by running to a nearby hilltop and then getting away.)
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North of Fukushima Daiichi, large tracts of land are piled high with green trash bags full of radioactive dirt that had been removed in an effort to decontaminate the topsoil. Exactly where the bags will wind up is still being decided, in what has so far been a contentious political process. Photo courtesy Lucas Wirl
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In other places, abandoned homes are now inhabited by stray cats, similar to this deserted street in the village of Namie, whose borders come within 6 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Tens of bikes were left at the nearby train station, as if still waiting for commuters to disembark. All images courtesy Subrata Ghoshroy unless otherwise noted.

Dan Drollette | August 25, 2015

On a recent 2015 trip to view the restricted areas in the devastated region around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, frequent Bulletin contributor Subrata Ghoshroy was able to get a good look at present conditions.