It's been almost two years since the disaster at Fukushima, but the surrounding area is still off-limits, and will continue to be for who knows how long. The town Namie-machi has been vacant since its evacuation on March 11, 2011, and now Google's uploaded Street View images of the eerie, hollow shell that remains.
Once home to 21,000, Namie-machi welcomed some visitors last month when a troupe of Google Street View cars traversed its long empty roads. The town's displaced populace has obviously been having a hard time being away from home, but also not knowing how the place is holding up. The hope is that this can help, at least a little bit.
The town's mayor, Tamotsu Baba, put it this way in a statement on Google Japan's blog:
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. 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.
It's going to be a long time before Namie-machi is back on its feet. And while seeing it empty and deserted isn't going to help that process, maybe it can help the healing start. [Google Japan via TechCrunch]