Nearly two years after the catastrophic Tohoku 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan, clean-up efforts continue as local communities struggle to put their lives back together. However, due to radiation contamination from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors, some areas still remain uninhabitable ghost towns.
A new series of Google Street View photos from Namie-machi, a small city in Fukushima prefecture, reveal even more of the devastating damage caused by the disaster. For many around the world, the dramatic impact that Fukushima had on the world's third richest nation has often been lost in the rapid churn of the 24-hour global news cycle. These latest images once again bring home how a modern, technologically advanced society can be brought to its knees by a combination of natural disasters and human error.
Posting on the Google Japan blog, Namie-machi mayor Tamotsu Baba wrote, "in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation. Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children."