This post was written by Anna Lee and was originally published by Vulcan Post.
Time stood still for the ghost town and everything was eerily quiet where life once was, five years before. Magazines lay scattered at the bookstore and not far off at the convenience store, snacks and drinks lay stacked on top of one another on the ground, almost as if store workers had gone amok and demanded a pay raise.
However, there is more than meets the eye. It wasn’t disgruntled staff that had caused the mess and the lack of inhabitants, it was in fact a natural disaster proceeded by a nuclear emergency which led to Fukushima’s abandonment.
The March 2011 disaster was caused by a tsunami, which led to the destruction of emergency generators at a nuclear power plant. This ultimately caused a nuclear meltdown and the release of radioactive material in the area, making it unsafe to call the place home.
Labelled the ‘red zone’, the Fukushima exclusion zone is not open to visitors, mainly due to it being unsafe, and those who regularly enter the zone are workers donning face masks and protective gear.
A Malaysian recently went against all odds to enter the site once more. Not many have ventured into the unsafe grounds, but Keow Wee Loong can now say that he has. He did it to unveil what the town looks like after years of being abandoned with not a soul in sight.
Set with his protective gear on, he managed to enter the zone, approximately 5 years since the unwelcome incident occurred and he shared his images with Facebook. Within 10 hours of uploading the images, it has been liked more than 10,000 times.
According to Wee Loong, the levels of radiation are still very high in the red zone. He found all sorts of valuables lying around, and was amazed that no one had looted the area. He compared it to Chernobyl, which had been looted clean. Fukushima instead lay untouched just as the residents had left it, as they made their hasty escape.
The sorry state of the town resonated with social media users who have never seen such revealing images of the disaster which caused the displacement of countless inhabitants.
Wee Loong added, “Well this is the devastating effect of using nuclear energy. Resident’s lives in Fukushima will never be the same again…the radiation leak at red zone by the Fukushima Daichi power plant is damaging the environment and marine life.”
What the images have been able to depict was how one disaster was able to cause the town to be completely abandoned and left exactly the way it was the moment the tragedy struck. They are the rare insights into how life once was, and will constantly be for the town of Fukushima.
You can find Wee Loong’s full post and all his other pictures here. Leave us or him a comment on how you feel about these pictures, if they got a reaction out of you.
Update from ExpatGo, 19.07.2016:
It has since come to our attention that the sites in this article are probably not as dangerous as we first thought. Polish photographer, Arkadiusz Podniesinski pointed out on his website that all the sites within this feature are in the green zone, and not in the red (exclusion) zone as claimed by Keow Wee Loong. The green zone is currently opened to the public and is ready for the evacuation order to be lifted.
It seems the claims made in the original Facebook share were exaggerated, which is a shame because this is still an interesting insight into the state of Fukushima five years after the meltdown of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant.