It is another victim of Japan’s disasters. The city of Fukushima, haunted by radiation fears, has been reduced to a shadow of its former self.
Trains are not running from the local station after the earthquake and tsunami. Department stores and supermarkets are closing earlier in the day.
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“At night, no-one walks around,” said Futoshi Sato, a 26-year-old man, interviewed on the streets of the city. “People used to go out drinking in Fukushima but not now. You can’t go shopping and even if you do go to a bar, it closes at 10pm to conserve energy.”
Frightened customers are deserting restaurants in the city, just 65 kilometres from the scene of the world’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.
“Everyone is worried so they go home early and then don’t want to leave,” said restaurant owner Shigeru Matsuura, 61. “I think about 30 per cent of the bars around here will have to call it a day.”
For the people of Fukushima, perhaps the worst thing is the stigma. Their city risks being associated forever with this nuclear nightmare.