Fukushima Frozen in Time
Five years after a tsunami shut down the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan, these haunting images show how the uninhabitable towns that surround the exclusion zone have been frozen in time.
In March 2011 an earthquake measuring 8.9 triggered a tsunami off the coast of north-eastern Japan, leading to an explosion at the nuclear reactor in Fukushima.
On April 22 everybody within a 12 mile radius of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station was forced to flee and the area completely cordoned off.
This bookshop and manga comic store was abandoned by its owner. The aisles are now filled with April 2011 editions of magazines
But photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski has journeyed through the ghost towns on the fringe of the central exclusion zone, to take these shocking images.
It is an urban area like something from an apocalyptic movie – untouched and uninhabitable.
Mr Podniesinski visited the towns of Tomioka, Okuma, Futaba and Namie to take these pictures.
In the spring of 2011 dozens of children were forced to abandon their school bags (pictured) and flee the area around the Fukushima nuclear reactor
Earlier this year three executives with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) were charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury.
Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, chairman of Tepco at the time, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69, were blamed for injuries to 13 people, including soldiers who were drafted in to help, and the deaths of 44 patients forced to evacuate from a nearby hospital.
The tsunami killed more than 18,000 people and Fukushima was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, although nobody is believed to have died directly as a result of the failure of the reactor.
Frozen in time: Although these clocks in a shop did not all stop at the same hour, they are no less spooky for it
This photograph was taken on March 14, 2011, three days after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi plant, leading to the failure of a reactor (pictured, right)
This picture, taken in the spring during the traditional cherry blossom season, shows the entrance to the exclusion zone in Tomioka
These tricycles were abandoned when the nuclear reactor at Fukushima Daiichi failed. In 2013 the WHO said residents of the area who had been evacuated were exposed to low amounts of radiation and their health was unlikely to be affected
Sadly many animals which were abandoned on this farm died of hunger or thirst
This photograph shows the inside of a municipal swimming pool, which has been closed to the public since 2011
Fire sale: This fascinating time capsule shows hundreds of DVDs in a store within the exclusion zone. Ironically 2011 was the same year Blockbuster closed down most of its 1,700 stores in the US. Nowadays most people download films or stream them
The area around the Fukushima Daiichi plant is now a ghost town. Even if the residents had been allowed to stay they may not have done as the plant was by far the biggest local employer and its closure would have devastated the towns nearby
This sculpture of a dinosaur – thought to be in the grounds of a creche – has become overgrown in the last five years
Coincidentally the Sendai District Court today ruled that the parents of 23 children who were washed out to sea by the tsunami should get 1.43 billion yen (£10m) in compensation
Forty-four seriously ill patients died after being evacuated from this hospital in the exclusion zone
This school hall was abandoned after the disaster. The damage to the roof is believed to have been caused by the earthquake
Where once students played and learned music in this school, now there is only silence
The noise of a pachinko parlour has been replaced by a haunting silence
Nature recovers: The blossom on these cherry trees within the exclusion zones carries echoes of the disaster in the spring of 2011, which happened during the cherry blossom season
Mr Podniesinski said he took the pictures between January and August this year, during multiple trips to Fukushima
An empty hospital ward near to Fukushima. Tokyo Electric Power Company estimates it will take at least 30 years to completely decommission the power station and will cost two trillion yen (£785m)
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3897212/Fukushima-five-years-Inside-exclusion-zone-Japanese-nuclear-plant-deemed-uninhabitable.html#ixzz4SzD2be20
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