Friday, March 8, 2013

"Google to photograph street views of evacuated town in Fukushima"

From Japan Today, 3/8/11:

It wasn’t just the earthquake or tsunami of March 11, 2011 that shattered the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture; it was the subsequent radiation. Slowly creeping across the once fertile land, it ripped families from their homes and banished them to evacuation centers elsewhere. Today, nearly two years after the worse nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, the entire 86 square miles of Namie have been declared uninhabitable due to high levels of radioactive cesium. Even if families wanted to return, they can’t.

Amid this tragic loss, Google Street View is giving the people of Namie a chance to visit the town they were forced to flee.

The Street View project was requested by Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie town. Baba explains in the video below, “By photographing the town and making those photographs publicly available, we can show the townspeople the condition of the streets. In addition, I want to show the world the true state of Namie.”

Photographing will take several weeks and Google hopes to make the images available to the public in the coming months. It seems that Namie, formerly described as “the forgotten town” in popular Japanese magazine, Bungei ShunjuI, will no longer be forgotten thanks to the efforts of Google and Mayor Baba.


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