Returning to Fukushima

On March 11, 2011, a tsunami set-off a nuclear catastrophe by disabling three Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant reactors. Over 400,000 individuals were evacuated, 160,000 of them from within 20km of Fukushima. Some are now expected to return.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Minamisoma lies inside the 20-kilometre (12-mile) evacuation zone in Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. April 21, 2011.

Six years ago on this day, a tsunami caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake off the western coast of Japan struck the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

It forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. The country is to lift some evacuation orders on March 31, giving hope to residents who are keen to build a life there again.

Till they return, Fukushima is a lonely place with streets littered with bags of radioactive waste. Some of Fukushima is deserted with a purpose – to drive home the enormity of the tsunami’s impact on the lives of residents.

Namie Town's elementary school stands as it did when the Tsunami hit and its principal, Chieko Oyama, wants it to stay this way.

"I want children to see the intensity, strength, and the terror of tsunamis, but I also want them to visit the school and see for themselves what we had to overcome to be where we are now."

TRT World’s Soraya Lennie speaks to former residents and business owners about recreating life in Namie Town, Fukushima.