Google offers virtual tour of 'ghost-town' Fukushima

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Google offers virtual tour of 'ghost-town' Fukushima

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For the last two years Fukushima has been a strictly no-go area, but not any more.

Google Street View has published the first video images of the buildings and roads left devastated by the March 2011 tsunami and consequent nuclear meltdown in the town of Namie, situated at the heart of the Fukushima area.

Filming by Google’s equipped vehicles began after an invitation from Namie’s mayor, Tamotsu Baba, who said he feared the world was forgetting about Fukushima and that is why he is in favour of taking videos of the 12-mile evacuation zone.

Since the nuclear accident, around 160,000 people, nuclear and tsunami refuges from nearby towns and villages, fled the territory and are still living in temporary housing. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who visited Namie last weekend, has stated that the construction of houses for those people will be finished soon.

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Irradiated areas close to the site will not be inhabited for several decades. As a result, older residents have to face the fact that they will die before having the chance to go back to their houses.

Through Google’s Street View service, users can have a 360-degree virtual tour of the town of Namie, a landscape still dominated by damaged buildings and streets filled with destroyed cars and boats swept inland by the enormous waves of the tsunami.