28 Haunting Photos Of Fukushima, 2 Years Later

Schools and streets remain eerily deserted as workers rebuild the nuclear power plant.

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.

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Greg Baker / AP

A warning sign beside a roadway, near a pile of radiation-contaminated soil at the Tsushima Junior High School in Namie.

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Greg Baker / AP

A time capsule is surrounded by weeds at the school.

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Greg Baker / AP

Abandoned unicycles.

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5. The meltdown occurred on March 11, 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant’s power and cooling systems.

Greg Baker / AP

An empty gas station in Namie.

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6. Radiation gushed into the air, soil and water, forcing out thousands of residents from nearby towns.

Greg Baker / AP

A doll sits on the balcony of a house in Namie.

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Greg Baker / AP

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.

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Greg Baker / AP

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.

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Greg Baker / AP

Grass grows beside abandoned houses in Naraha.

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Greg Baker / AP

Workers haul a bag of leaves and soil contaminated by radiation, during a clean-up operation in Naraha.

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Greg Baker / AP

The faded outline of painted footprints in Naraha.

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Greg Baker / AP

Weeds grow through cracks in an earthquake-damaged road in Naraha.

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Greg Baker / AP

A man looks out from his store in the abandoned town of Yamakiya.

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Greg Baker / AP

A meter indicates radiation levels beside a public toilet in the largely abandoned town of Kawauchi.

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Greg Baker / AP

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.

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Greg Baker / AP
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Greg Baker / AP

A boot on a fence in Tomioka.

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Greg Baker / AP

A small truck covered in vines.

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Greg Baker / AP

Police monitor a barrier marking the edge of the nuclear exclusion zone.

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20. On Wednesday, some reporters were granted a visit to the nuclear plant to see how TEPCO is rebuilding.

Issei Kato / AP

Workers carry out radiation screening on the media tour bus.

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Issei Kato / AP

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.

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Issei Kato / AP

Workers stand next to the spent fuel pool inside the Common Pool Building, where all the nuclear fuel rods will be stored for decommissioning.

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Issei Kato / AP

Workers take a survey near tanks of radiation-contaminated water.

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Issei Kato / AP

The radiation monitor indicates 114.00 microsieverts per hour.

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Issei Kato / AP

The banner reads “Unite the Heart, Gambaro! Fukushima (Go! Fukushima)” near the foundation of a storage for melted fuel rods.

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Issei Kato / AP
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Issei Kato / AP
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Left: April 2011. Right: March 2013.

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at jessica.testa@buzzfeed.com.

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