1. As Japan approaches the two-year anniversary of its devistating Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear meltdown, officials are still uncertain when or if 160,000 displaced residents will be able to return home.
A street in Futaba in the exclusion zone around the power plant. Top: April 2011. Bottom: March 2013.
A warning sign beside a roadway, near a pile of radiation-contaminated soil at the Tsushima Junior High School in Namie.
A time capsule is surrounded by weeds at the school.
5. The meltdown occurred on March 11, 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant’s power and cooling systems.
An empty gas station in Namie.
6. Radiation gushed into the air, soil and water, forcing out thousands of residents from nearby towns.
A doll sits on the balcony of a house in Namie.
Protest slogans criticize Tepco, the company that ran Fukushima, beside a photo of residents on the window of the home they were forced to evacuate in Namie.
Weeds grow near drinks and rice vending machines in Naraha. The town is now open to residents for short visits but they are unable to return there to live.
Grass grows beside abandoned houses in Naraha.
Workers haul a bag of leaves and soil contaminated by radiation, during a clean-up operation in Naraha.
The faded outline of painted footprints in Naraha.
Weeds grow through cracks in an earthquake-damaged road in Naraha.
A man looks out from his store in the abandoned town of Yamakiya.
A meter indicates radiation levels beside a public toilet in the largely abandoned town of Kawauchi.
Farmer Naoto Matsumura feeds ostritches at his farm in Tomioka, inside the nuclear exclusion zone. Matsumura is the only resident to have stayed in Tomioka.
A boot on a fence in Tomioka.
A small truck covered in vines.
Police monitor a barrier marking the edge of the nuclear exclusion zone.
20. On Wednesday, some reporters were granted a visit to the nuclear plant to see how TEPCO is rebuilding.
Workers carry out radiation screening on the media tour bus.
Members of the media wear protective suits and masks while walking near the plant’s No. 4 reactor, center, and an under-construction foundation which will store the reactor’s melted fuel rods.
Workers stand next to the spent fuel pool inside the Common Pool Building, where all the nuclear fuel rods will be stored for decommissioning.
Workers take a survey near tanks of radiation-contaminated water.
The radiation monitor indicates 114.00 microsieverts per hour.
The banner reads “Unite the Heart, Gambaro! Fukushima (Go! Fukushima)” near the foundation of a storage for melted fuel rods.
Left: April 2011. Right: March 2013.