Title: Inside the Abandoned Radioactive Towns of Japan
Source: Vice Magazine
Author: Christian Storm
Date: Feb. 27, 2013
You might remember that way back in March 2011, a major tsunami struck the northeast shores of Japan, devastating the country and causing the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s cooling systems to break down, which resulted in the worst nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl. Even if you don’t recall that disaster, photographer Toshiya Watanabe does. His family home, Namie, where his mother and cousins still lived, was directly in the path of both the rising waters and the waves of radiation that came after. Nowadays, the town and all the others like it in the disaster zone sit abandoned, unchanged in the past two years, like a ghost town where the ghosts are nuclear-charged stray dogs and cattle. Toshiya has traveled back to his hometown many times, documenting the changes he saw, or lack thereof. We chatted with him about visiting the “no-go zone” that is now his hometown. [...]
What do you think about Japan and the world’s reaction to what happened? Do you think they downplayed the effects? Do you or your family have any health problems because of your proximity to the reactor?
[Toshiya Watanabe:] As for the accident at the power plant, neither the government nor TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) have been telling us the truth from the start. The government has again and again said they will do something about the nuclear accident, but most people don’t buy it. We can only rely on nuclear specialists in Germany, France, and the United States to tell us the dangers we face. It’s the same with health hazards. We have seen how it’s affecting children already, and no one knows exactly what’s going on. I think we, as citizens of Japan, have been worried ever since the day the tsunami hit. There is no way of telling what is true, and we simply don’t know who we can trust anymore. [...]
Published: February 27th, 2013 at 3:53 pm ET