World·Feature

Schools still empty, homes abandoned 6 years after Fukushima disaster

The towns in Japan's Fukushima district still sit empty, six years after a powerful tsunami destroyed the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Wild boars roam empty town of Namie

A classroom in the Ukedo elementary school in the town of Namie sits empty, six years after a tsunami destroyed reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. ((Toru Hanai/Reuters))

The town of Namie in Japan's Fukushima district still sits empty, six years after a powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami destroyed the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Japanese authorities plan to lift evacuation orders for Namie by the end of March. But a recent government poll conducted in September 2016 found that 53 per cent of former residents said they will not return to the region, citing safety and health concerns. 

Meanwhile, wild boars roam the empty streets, foraging for food. Hunters from nearby towns have captured 300 of the animals in Namie since last April.

(Toru Hanai/Reuters)

Abandoned home

Parts of Namie are still uninhabitable, due to radiation contamination. The fishing and farming town is situated about four kilometres away from the power plant, which was severely damaged by 15-metre waves when the tsunami struck on March 11, 2011.

(Toru Hanai/Reuters)

Schools to be rebuilt

Namie used to have nine schools, including the Ukedo elementary school seen in this photo. When families return to the town, the children and teens will need to travel to a neighbouring town until a new school is constructed.

(Toru Hanai/Reuters)

Doctor readies his clinic

The town is also readying to open the town's hospital once the evacuation order is lifted. Dr. Yuji Kimura poses at the town's temporary clinic.

(Toru Hanai/Reuters)

Plant to be decommissioned

Workers don protective gear at the power plant in February 2017. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., operator of the nuclear power plant, aims to decommission the reactors within 40 years.

(Tomohiro Ohsumi/Associated Press)

Measuring radiation counter

A geiger counter is located at a temporary housing complex in nearby Nihonmatsu. Japanese authorities say they will not lift an evacuation order for a town if the radiation level exceeds 20 millisieverts per year. They must also have functioning utilities and telecoms systems, basic health care and postal services.

(Toru Hanai/Reuters)

Rebuilding Odaka

Karin Taira in February 2017 stands before a once popular bakery near Odaka station, about 16 kilometres from the power plant. Taira hopes to attract tourists to the area. Japan's Reconstruction Agency set a 10-year mandate to rebuild the devastated area.

(Everett Kennedy Brown/EPA)

With files from Reuters