Two years after it was devastated by the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown in 2011, the whole world can now see what one of the Fukushima towns looks like. Google Street View has published pictures of Namie, with its abandoned homes and shops; a stark reminder that not all of Japan has moved on from the events of two years ago.
Google Street View gives you a 360-degree virtual tour of Namie’s streets, including its earthquake-damaged buildings, streets overrun by grass and weeds and the debris left by the tsunami, scattered all over the town. Panoramic imagery will be available on Google Maps, Google Earth and the Memories of the Future site, which shows before and after images of towns on the coast that were totally destroyed by the tsunami.
One of the residents of Namie, Koto Naganuma, said that looking at these images will be both hard and exciting. He is eager to see his beloved town, which he has just visited once since the disaster. His home was destroyed by the waves, but he wants to look at pictures of places that are very dear to him. And this is just one of the many reasons why this project was started.
Namie town mayor Tamotsu Baba invited Google’s camera-equipped vehicles to film in his town this month. One of his greatest fears is that the world has forgotten all about Fukushima and the more than 160,000 people, including 21,000 from Namie, who are still displaced up to today. Most of them are still living in temporary housing. The elderly have already accepted that they will not be able to go back to their houses before they pass away. The younger generation have started to build lives away from the place they once called home. The reconstruction efforts have been painfully slow, or in some areas, non-existent. The decontamination operation is way behind schedule. It might take decades for the town, and several other places near the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, to be inhabitable again.
In a blog post, Mayor Baba said that their generation feels great pain that they cannot pass on to the future generation this town that they received from their ancestors. He said he wants this Street View “to become a permanent record” of what actually happened to Namie because of these disasters.
[ via Guardian UK ]