2015: Naraha

Fukushima - 4 Jahre danach: 11.03.2015
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 41, No. 1, October 19, 2015

Inside Fukushima's Potemkin Village: Naraha

David McNeill, Androniki Christodoulou

Twice a year, journalists are taken on guided tours of the ruined Daiichi nuclear plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO). The drive there from the southern outskirts of the 20-kilometer exclusion zone imposed in 2011 took them through the nearly empty towns of Hirono, Naraha, Tomioka, Okuma and Futaba. The state of neglect could be measured by the encroachment of weeds and wild animals, and the slow decrepitude of housing and infrastructure.
Despite the decline and the still urgent beeping of Geiger counters nearer the plant, there has never been any official talk of abandoning the area. Instead, it was divided up into three zones with awkward euphemisms to suggest just the opposite: communities with radiation of 20 millisieverts (mSv) or less (the typical worldwide limit for workers in nuclear plants) are “being prepared for lifting of evacuation order;” 20-50 mSv are “no-residence zones;” the most heavily contaminated (50mSv) are “difficult-to-return.”
A vast public-works project was started three years ago to decontaminate an area roughly half the size of Rhode Island, at an estimated cost of $50 billion. Compensation by TEPCO was explicitly linked to the possibility that many of the 160,000 nuclear refugees would return,

and any hint otherwise was controversial: When new trade and industry minister Hachiro Yoshio called the abandoned communities “towns of death” in September 2011, he was forced to quit a week later.

Read the article as pdf here

See the accompanying article by Arjkadiusz Podniesiński, Fukushima: The View From Ground Zero.