Urban Fold

Inside the Nuclear Ghost Towns of Japan

This piece fromDer Spiegel takes you inside the abandoned cities of Japan that were forced to clear out amid threats of nuclear meltdown.

Towns within a 20-km radius of the nuclear plant damaged by the March tsunami have all been cleared out, though some residents have returned in secret to collect belongings.

"There were 13,400 people living in Odaka before the accident. Today it's a ghost town, so quiet that one can hear the beating wings of crows flying overhead. As a last sign of life in this dead city, the traffic lights along the main road are still working. Like disco lights at a party that's been over for hours, they are still switching from green to yellow to red and back to green again.

Tens of thousands of Japanese who once lived in the danger zone around the stricken reactor are in the same position. Many suddenly had to give up all of their important and meaningful possessions. Others were allowed to stay but are now being told not to leave their houses."

Full Story: A Visit to Japan's Nuclear Ghost Towns

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