Photographers Sneak into the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Zone

It’s been over five years since tragedy struck the eastern coast of Japan, creating the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. However, the devastation left by the earthquake and tsunami is still prevalent today. On that fateful day in March 2011, a 9.0 earthquake created a 50 foot tsunami wave that smashed into the Fukushima power plant causing multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns. Since then, the Japanese government has placed the area into an exclusion zone to avoid radiation contamination, But after learning he would have to obtain the necessary permits to visit, Malaysian photographer Keow Wee Loong and two colleagues snuck into the 20 kilometer exclusion zone to capture these haunting images:

Loong’s unforgettable photos showcase these modern day ghost towns and the shocking after-effects of a nuclear disaster. Due to the sudden evacuation, many of the citizens were unable to take anything with them, including mementos and other valuables. Despite the obvious signs of aging, merchandise, jewelry, cars, and every other remnant remain frozen in place as if it were still that historic day when over 20,000 people were suddenly dead or missing—and hundreds of thousands more were instantly homeless.

Due to their limited amount of time, Loong and his crew were unable to visit all of the towns in Fukushima. However, he was able to journey to Futaba, Namie, Okuma, and Tomioka.

While many believe Loong is only in it for the fame, the photographer insists his goal was to show others the devastating aftermath of a nuclear disaster. Either way, these riveting images will show you these uninhabited cities like never before.

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