Five years after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, a young Malaysian photographer Keow Wee Loong entered into the towns abandoned inside Fukushima’s exclusion zone. The disaster occurred due to overheating and ultimately failure of reactor coolers during the tsunami and earthquake of March 2011. The area was immediately evacuated by the residents of surrounding towns to avoid further risk of exposure to radiation.
The area is not accessible easily because of the high level radiation. Getting inside requires permission from the local council. Instead Loong snuck into the forest to evade the cops guarding the road and reached after a long walk assisted by GPS and Google Maps. The series of photographs he posted later of the abandoned homes, super markets and other places on his Facebook page have since gone viral.
Keow recalls his experience of first entering the zone saying
“When I entered the Red Zone, I could feel a burning sensation in my eyes and thick chemical smell in the air.”
Everything in the area was abandoned. The supermarkets, shops and homes were just the same as they were when everyone left in haste. There were laptops, jewelry, money and even vehicles. In Keow’s own words,
“I’m amazed that nobody looted this town clean, unlike Chernobyl, where the entire town has been looted clean.”