In 2011, march 11, a magnitude 9 earthquake followed by a 15 meter high tsunami hit the north east coast of Japan. The Fukushima Daiihci nuclear power plant was damaged by the tsunami and radioactive material leaked into the surrounding environment. The area around the power plant was thus struck by a triple disaster, causing widespread suffering and distress for the local inhabitants.
The tour gives the story of this catastrophe, told by a guide living in the local community. It is a story which is both interesting, sad and moving but also with a bit of optimism. I have attended many guided tours, many forgotten, but his one I know I will never forget.
To see the empty site of a fishing community, which contained four hundred houses before the tsunami hit, was very moving. Only the remnants of a single house, the local school and the graveyard was left.
Four citys with something like 80000 inhabitants were evacuated because of radiation danger, today less than 10% has moved back. To actually see some of these ”ghost towns” with empty houses and empty streets makes you understand the harsh reality of this disaster and how deeply it has affected the population in this area.
We were also able to visit the still closed area around the nuclear power plant, and saw houses, cars, restaurants and a home for the elderly left just as it was on the day of the disaster. Also to see several enormous storage sites for soil contaminated by radioactivity is not something easily forgotten. But there is a bit of optimism also, local railway stations have been reopened and in some of the cities there is activity and an increase in the population.
I can highly recommend this tour. The guide, being a local, has expert knowledge of the area and events and is very good at communicating in an informal and easy way.
The tour gives, in my opinion, an unsentimental and true story of what happened in Fukushima and how it affected people living there. As such it is an important part of contemporary history, not only for Japan, but for the rest of the world as well.
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