What would you do if you were visiting Japan? I guess the normal tourist stuff – visit the fish markets, see the Tokyo Imperial Palace, probably sneak into the radioactive Fukushima red zone without permission… OK, perhaps not. Yet Keow Wee Loong, a Malaysian photographer, did just this on his recent visit to Japan.
In 2011, after a 15 metre high tsunami, there were three nuclear meltdowns releasing harmful radioactive material into the area. This led to the mass evacuation of 470,000 people, essentially transforming Fukushima from a popular summer destination to a ghost town. There is a special permit that can be applied for to enter, but Keow and his friend decided to take the alternative route, sneaking in through the forest. Take a look at these incredible images which reveal what Fukushima looks like now.
These images portray the ghost town of Fukushima. The mess of the supermarket is said to be from the many animals that were left behind scouring for food. The abandoned shoe store and DVD shop show how nothing has been touched as Keow pointed out that there has been hardly any looting.
The left behind laundry and the deserted car lot portrays how quickly people had to evacuate and leave everything behind. Unfortunately for Keow and his friend, the pub is the only place that seems to be cleared out.
Keow also discussed how he felt when entering the red zone. He could smell a thick scent of chemicals in the air and a burning sensation in his eyes. Five years on and it seems the radioactivity levels are still extremely high.
The Fukushima disaster was the worst radioactive nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, which took place in 1986 in the city of Pripyat. Check out what it is like now, 30 years after the disaster.
Similar to Fukushima, it is a complete ghost town with no sign of any life in sight. An abandoned Ferris wheel refers back to a time of life and happiness, however the disaster has made this area totally unlivable.
Although sneaking into a radioactive red zone is never a good idea, even with some level of protection, the images that Keow has captured are fascinating. The transformation of the town from vibrant to empty, along with all material things left there, make it a very eerie yet curious environment. Sadly many have lost their lives because of radioactive poisoning. Let’s hope that Keow and his friend remain unscathed.