Google Street View shows abandoned post-earthquake Fukushima city

A couple years have passed since the earthquake that devestated Japan and set off a nuclear emergency, resulting in the abandonment of Namie-machi, which is located near the coastline in Fukushima prefecture. The former residents of Namie-machi are still unable to return, but can now take a virtual walk around the place they called home thanks to Google Street View.

In a guest post on Google's Lat-Long blog, Namie-machi's mayor Tamotsu Baba detailed the state of things since the earthquake happened, and said that many former residents of the small city have asked to see how things sit today. By partnering with Google, they were able to satisfy these requests by driving Street View vehicles through the ruined city, capturing images of the state of things in the present time.

That imagery can now be viewed by anyone via Google Maps, or on the Memories of the Future website, which also has a comparison tool showing before and after maps images of the damage. Scanning through the Street View imagery is a sobering activity. Buildings still lie in ruins, collapsed or in a state of collapse. Piles of rubble lie where homes once sat.

Said Mr. Baba, "Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation."

[via Google Latlong]