Google Maps has added more abandoned Japanese towns that were affected by the Fukushima nuclear meltdown to its Street View features, showing the world the recovery process is still ongoing two years after disaster struck Japan. For the first time, the Google Street View cars were allowed to go inside the 19-kilometer (11.8 mile) nuclear exclusion zone in order to record for posterity’s sake.
According to Street View’s Group Product Manager Kei Kawai, they published for the first time on Wednesday the images within the Fukushima Exclusion Zone which includes the towns of Okuma and Futaba. People can also view the roads leading to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where three nuclear reactors had a meltdown in January 2011, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from nearby towns. In addition to that, the cars have been driving around the Tohoku region for the past months, and they will also be including images from 17 cities from the Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures. This is the first time they will be shown in Street View, since they published the panorama views in 2011, a few months after the disasters.
Kawai said that they wanted to show the world the process that Japan is still undergoing to rebuild the towns that were affected, particularly in the Fukushima region where the threat of radiation and contamination is still very real. Last March, Google Maps published images from the abandoned town of Namie, probably the hardest hit of the Fukushima towns, showing abandoned houses, earthquake-damaged buildings, and streets overrun with grass, weeds and debris. Namie-machi Mayor Tamotsu Baba said then he wanted the world to look at these pictures and understand the “tremendous gravity” of the situation they are facing, but also to serve as a reminder that this generation has a duty to the future to preserve the history and culture of the city.
[ via Wire Update ]