Back in March 2011, a major earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, causing the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s cooling systems to breakdown and a nuclear meltdown.
Residents within six-and-a-half miles of the power plant had to evacuate, there was no time to grab personal belongings—and one of the towns within the Fukushima prefecture, Namie had been left abandoned ever since.
Photographer Toshiya Watanabe, whose hometown was Namie, decided to go back when he could.
Thinking it was going to be the last time he’d ever visit Namie, he decided to document the location.
In his photo series, he captures the abandoned radioactive town where no one no longer resides, besides forlorn previously-owned dogs and stray cattle that have lived through the traumatic incidents and all been affected by the nuclear power plant explosion.
“When I [first returned], time had stopped and everything was just the way it was when the tsunami hit,” Watanabe told VICE.
“A town I was so familiar with felt like a science-fcition movie set all of a sudden. I remember feeling dizze a few times. There were no people there, only the sound of the wind and birds, and when I closed my eyes, it felt like I was standing in the middle of a forest.”
[via Toshiya Watanabe]