Visitors to Google Maps Street View can now explore the area around Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima, an area you are not allowed to visit any other way. Start your tour with our embedded map.
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This story was first published in March, 2013. It is still a good read. I (Terry) have just arrived in the United States to visit my 95-year-old mother, so during my time there, you will be seeing quite a few repeat stories.
Read the story and then check out the embedded map below. You can take your own tour of the city of the city of Namie in Fukushima prefecture. Google Street View takes a bit of practice. You will see arrows on the road that allow you to move forward or backward. Use the arrows in the circle to look in other directions. Notice that you can click on "view larger map" to get a bigger view. If you do so, don't get lost. To return to this story, click on the back arrow in your browser.
Google reveals views of Japan's nuclear ghost town
By Harumi Ozawa (AFP)
TOKYO — Visitors to Google Maps can now roam virtually through the overgrown streets of an abandoned town where time has stood still since a tsunami crippled Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant two years ago.
The Internet giant's mapping site is offering views of the deserted streets of Namie, half of which sits within the 20-kilometre (12-mile) no-go zone around the nuclear plant, wrecked when the 2011 tsunami crashed into Japan.
A scene from Google Street View of a street near the Namie Post office not far from the (nuclear) reactornuclearaccident site.
With cooling systems knocked out by the wall of water, three reactors melted down, spewing radioactive particles into the air, soil and sea and forcing Namie's entire population of 21,000 to flee.
The entrance ban will be lifted for a small part of the town from Monday next week, allowing residents to visit for a short time, but the vast majority remains highly contaminated and is expected to be uninhabitable for years.
"The world is moving on to the future after the disaster... but time has stopped in the town of Namie," said mayor Tamotsu Baba, writing on a blog for Google Japan Thursday.
"I hope these street views will show the people of future generations what the great earthquake and nuclear disaster brought," he said.
"We need many years and many people's cooperation to rise again from the nuclear crisis. We will never give up on getting back our hometown," he said.
The natural disasters killed nearly 19,000 people, including those whose bodies are yet to be recovered.
Some parts of the town were swamped by the waves of March 11. Houses and other buildings damaged by the water can be clearly seen as site visitors click through the panoramic displays.
Along the coastline, the occasional boat lies in an untended field, dumped there by the waves that spread heavy oils and silt over rice paddies, where they also left the now rotted bodies of marine life.
But many of the buildings in the town are intact, tinged only by the invisible menace of radiation and abandoned when the sudden order to evacuate came two years ago.
Plant pots, their contents long dead or run wild, stand neatly outside some houses. Barber shops and hairdressers still display their welcome signs, offering haircuts to customers who may never return.
The images come from a heavily polluted part of the town, where residents are not allowed to venture, a town official said.
(nuclear) reactor: a large structure used for the controlled production of nuclear energy - เครื่องปฏิกรณ์นิวเคลียร์
abandoned: left and no longer used - ร้าง, ที่ถูกละทิ้ง
ban: an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something - การห้าม
coastline: an area of land beside the sea - ชายฝั่ง
contaminated: made dirty, polluted or poisonous by the addition of a chemical, waste or infection - ปนเปื้อน
cooperation: working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides - ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
crippled: damaged and prevented from working properly - ที่พัง ที่ใช้การไม่ได้
crisis: an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation - วิกฤตการณ์
deserted: empty - ที่ถูกทิ้งให้ว่างเปล่า ร้างไป
disaster: an unexpected event, such as a very bad accident, a flood or a fire, that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage - ภัยพิบัติ ความหายนะ
evacuate: to leave a place because it is not safe - อพยพออกจากพื้นที่
flee: to leave a place or person quickly because you are afraid of possible danger - หนี อพยพ
generation: a group of people in society who are born and live around the same time - รุ่น (คนรุ่นต่างๆ)
intact: not harmed, damaged, or lacking any parts as a results of something that has happened - สมบูรณ์ ไม่บุบสลาย
invisible: unable to be seen - มองไม่เห็น
lift: to end a warning, a restriction, etc. - ยกเลิก
marine: relating to the sea and creatures that live in it - เกี่ยวกับทะเล
mayor: the most important elected official in a town or city - นายกเทศมนตรี
melt down: to create a serious accident in which the central part of a nuclear reactor melts, causing harmful radiation to escape -
menace: something that causes, or may cause, serious damage, harm or danger - ภัยอันตราย
occasional: happening or done sometimes but not often - ซึ่งเป็นครั้งคราว
overgrown: covered with plants that have been allowed to grow wild and have not been controlled - หนาทึบ
panorama: a view of a wide area of land - ทัศนียภาพทั้งหมด
particle: an extremely small piece of matter that is part of an atom, for example an electron, proton, or neutron - อนุภาค
plant: a factory that produces power or processes chemicals, etc. - โรงงาน
prefecture: an area of local government in some countries, for example France, Italy and Japan - อำเภอ
radiation: powerful and very dangerous rays that are sent out from radioactive substances - รังสี, พลังงานจากรังสี
radioactive: sending out harmful radiation caused when the nuclei (= central parts) of atoms are broken up - เกี่ยวกับกัมมันตภาพรังสี
recovery: the act of getting something again that was lost, stolen, or owed - การนำกลับคืน, การกู้
residents: people who live in a particular area - ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
rice paddies: a field for growing rice - นา, ที่นา
roam: to move or travel around in no particular direction - เดินโดยปราศจากจุดหมาย
rot: to spoil; to decay - เน่า
silt: sand, mud, etc. that is carried by flowing water and is left at the mouth of a river or in a harbour - โคลน
spew: to flow out with a lot of force, or to make something do this - พ่นออก
spread: to gradually affect or cover a larger area - แพร่กระจาย
swamped: covered with a large amount of water - ท่วม, จมอยู่ในน้ำ
tinge: to add a small amount of something - ผสมลงไปเล็กน้อย
uninhabitable: not fit to live in; impossible to live in - ไม่สามารถอาศัยอยู่ได้
untended: not cared for or kept in good condition - ไม่ได้รับการดูแลหรือเก็บไว้ในสภาพที่ดี
vast: extremely large in area, size, amount, etc. - กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล
venture: to go somewhere, especially somewhere that is unpleasant, dangerous or exciting - เสี่ยงภัย ผจญภัย
virtually: using images and often sounds that are produced by a computer and connected equipment to make the user feel as if they are in real three-dimensional space - สภาวะเสมือนจริงที่จำลองโดยเทคนิคทางคอมพิวเตอร์
wrecked: damaged or destroyed - ถูกทำลาย
zone: an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed - พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต
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