Japan: Fukushima, an Olympic make-up

In a year, the Olympic Games, called “reconstruction games”, should allow Japan to turn the page on the Fukushima tragedy. If the region, the symbol of the 2011 disaster, has been officially cleaned, many problems remain. Forbidden cities, radioactivity … Our reporters followed the daily lives of the residents of this “cursed” region for months.

Nine years after the nuclear accident, it is a strong symbol: the Japanese city of Okuma is still a ghost town. Emptied by its inhabitants in 2011 after the nuclear accident, this village near the power plant became the territory of the wildlife. There are still two “jungle cities” and you need a special permit to get there. The other cities that were evacuated in 2011 have since reopened.

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In Okuma we understand that the famous cleaning of Fukushima is far from over. The prefecture is hosting some tests at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, postponed to summer 2021 due to the corona virus. In recent months, Japanese authorities have worked hard to complete the redevelopment of the region in time for the Games. It is a huge restoration and redevelopment project that will never end and should cost almost € 250 billion.

If the work carried out for ten years is real and colossal, if the region is partly rebuilt, it is far from exempt from radioactivity. NGO Greenpeace has discovered areas at risk of radioactivity near the Olympic facilities. And at the Fukushima plant, Tepco engineers continue to fight radioactive leaks. They also face new problems, such as polluted water that accumulates at the site of the power plant and represents a new problem in Japan. Our reporters were able to visit this historic nuclear power plant.

The chronicle of daily life in Fukushima, with the residents determined to revive their region.

>> Also see our fantastic report: “Fukushima, the choice of return”