Google Street View Unveils Images of Japan's Nuke Evacuation Area

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-03-28 Print this article Print

High levels of radiation across the area continue to make the town and surrounding environs unsafe for residents to return to, he wrote. "Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years."

A key goal of the Street View images project in the town, Baba wrote, is to graphically show the world the dangers and slow pace of progress that are being felt in Namie, he wrote. "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."

For the town, its displaced residents and its future, the Street View images can be an important part of the healing process, Baba wrote.

"Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebears, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children," he wrote. "It has become our generation's duty to make sure future generations understand the city's history and culture—maybe even those who will not remember the Fukushima nuclear accident. We want this Street View imagery to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster."

Help is needed for the town to recover, Baba said.

"Finally, I want to make a renewed commitment to recovering from the nuclear hazard," he wrote. "It may take many years and many people's help, but we will never give up taking back our hometown."

An early Street View project came to Japan in December 2011 when Google first created the Memories Website. Those photos were collected beginning in July 2011 along more than 27,000 miles across affected regions of Japan.

The latest Street View images are providing photographs in areas that have been generally off limits due to the dangerous radiation that was released from the damaged nuclear plant. The photo team had to follow strict health and safety guidelines so that they could take the images safely without exposing themselves to dangerous levels of radiation.


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