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Fukushima: bullet train to ghost town

Fukushima: bullet train to ghost town
By Christopher Cummins
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There is no smell, the properties set back from the road give the impression of affluent respectability. Take a closer look and it begins to dawn that all is not quite normal here.

There is no one around.

The evacuated areas around the Fukushima nuclear plant remain frozen in time. It is like an end of the world movie set, but this is no work of fiction.

Shops, supermarkets and restaurants are all closed, yet untouched. The goods remain innocently gathering strange dust, clothes, toys, food, wine, sweets, lingerie.

To see examples of everyday normality set in such unusual circumstances is spooky and disturbing.

Walking around a ghost town supermarket, untouched for years, is something I will never forget.

Rats are now in charge. They leave their droppings everywhere adding to the unique sickly-sweet stench.

Footfalls and mask-muffled breath are the only sounds until a loudspeaker starts blurting out information concerning the amount of time one can stay in the area and insisting that a mask is worn at all times.

That seems to make sense, but in the wind the echoes of the announcements rebound, phase and flange off the buildings – a post-nuclear symphony.

The clean up continues; the Japanese government and Tepco announce dates for the completion, but no one really believes them…… this is new territory.

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