Japan's nuclear "ghost town" tour
- Published: 16/07/2013 at 10:15 AM
- Online news:
Visitors to Google Maps Street View can now explore the area around Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima, an area you are not allowed to visit any other way. Start your tour with our embedded map.
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This story was first published in March, 2013. It is still a good read. I (Terry) have just arrived in the United States to visit my 95-year-old mother, so during my time there, you will be seeing quite a few repeat stories.
Read the story and then check out the embedded map below. You can take your own tour of the city of the city of Namie in Fukushima prefecture Google Street View takes a bit of practice. You will see arrows on the road that allow you to move forward or backward. Use the arrows in the circle to look in other directions. Notice that you can click on "view larger map" to get a bigger view. If you do so, don't get lost. To return to this story, click on the back arrow in your browser.
Google reveals views of Japan's nuclear ghost town
By Harumi Ozawa (AFP)
TOKYO — Visitors to Google Maps can now roam virtually through the overgrownstreets of an abandonedtown where time has stood still since a tsunami crippledJapan's Fukushima nuclear planttwo years ago.
The Internet giant's mapping site is offering views of the deserted streets of Namie, half of which sits within the 20-kilometre (12-mile) no-go zone around the nuclear plant wreckedwhen the 2011 tsunami crashed into Japan.
A scene from Google Street View of a street near the Namie Post office not far from the (nuclear) reactoraccident site.
With cooling systems knocked out by the wall of water, three reactors melted down, spewing radioactiveparticles into the air, soil and sea and forcing Namie's entire population of 21,000 to flee
The entrance ban will be lifted for a small part of the town from Monday next week, allowing residentsto visit for a short time, but the vastmajority remains highly contaminatedand is expected to be uninhabitablefor years.
"The world is moving on to the future after the disaster.. but time has stopped in the town of Namie," said mayorTamotsu Baba, writing on a blog for Google Japan Thursday.
"I hope these street views will show the people of future generations what the great earthquake and nuclear disasterbrought," he said.
"We need many years and many people's cooperationto rise again from the nuclear crisis We will never give up on getting back our hometown," he said.
The natural disasters killed nearly 19,000 people, including those whose bodies are yet to be recovered.
Some parts of the town were swampedby the waves of March 11. Houses and other buildings damaged by the water can be clearly seen as site visitors click through the panoramic displays.
Along the coastline the occasionalboat lies in an untendedfield, dumped there by the waves that spreadheavy oils and siltover rice paddies where they also left the now rotted bodies of marinelife.
But many of the buildings in the town are intact tinged only by the invisiblemenace of radiationand abandonedwhen the sudden order to evacuatecame two years ago.
Plant pots, their contents long dead or run wild, stand neatly outside some houses. Barber shops and hairdressers still display their welcome signs, offering haircuts to customers who may never return.
The images come from a heavily polluted part of the town, where residentsare not allowed to venture a town official said.
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager