3-1=1 – KyeongJun Yang

  • On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Prefecture collapsed twice. The Tohoku earthquake, which was the worst recorded in Japan’s history, had caused a 40.5 meters high tsunami and killed approximately 15,000 people. But the tragedy did not end there. The Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, located at the west end of Fukushima, could not withstand the impact brought by the tsunami. Radioactivity began to spread into the air as well as water. On the first day of the accident, the Japanese government ordered evacuation up to 3 kilometers around the power plant, after one month post its radiation leak, the evacuation zone had expanded to 40 kilometers.

     

    In 2012, the Japanese government began restoring villages except for high-risk areas within 20 kilometers radius of the power plant. Traces of Fukushima’s previous lives were recovered after restorations of collapsed buildings and houses. However, radiation decontamination was progressing slower than the government’s expectation. Even if contaminated soil is scraped off from the surface, it is contaminated once more when runoff waters descend from the mountains when it rains. Complete decontamination is impossible unless every tree is removed from the mountains; however, 70% of Fukushima is comprised of mountains covered by dense woods.

     

    In 2020, the Japanese government had lifted most of the evacuation orders and had cut off subsidies. Houses that could not be decontaminated were destroyed and new houses were built to prompt residents to return to their respective villages. The actions of broadcasting reduced pollution levels and the footage of Prime Minister Abe eating Fukushima-raised fish did not erase the impact of sheer fear from radiation leak. The slogan for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is, “Let’s Go Forward.” As the world moves on towards the future, Fukushima came to an abrupt stop on March 11.

 

2. Gogendo, Namie

An abandoned house in Namie. Because Namie is within 20km of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the decontamination of most houses is not possible. Therefore, the residents have not returned since 2011. Gogendo, Namie. 2019.

3-1=1 on KyeongJun Yang

Source: 3-1=1 – KyeongJun Yang

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