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Revisited

Return to Fukushima, two years on

Two years after the nuclear disaster, Fukushima is still a ghost town. Our reporters went to meet the men and women whose lives were torn apart on March 11, 2011.

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Yoshiharu Sue, 61, is one of 160,000 people evacuated from the area near the Fukushima nuclear plant after the accident triggered by the earthquake and tsunami. The disaster of March 11, 2011 cost the lives of almost 19,000 people in Japan.

A former engineer-turned-farmer, Sue had to leave his home after the disaster. “I saw a purple cloud, I thought it was best to run,” he told us. Sue also left behind his fields and the cemetery where his ancestors are buried. Like thousands of other nuclear refugees, he is now living in a dull, prefabricated housing unit. He shares just 50 square metres with his wife and mother.

Yet with his smile and pleasant manner, he showed us a brighter side to Fukushima. He is not the only one: there are grandmothers who meet up every afternoon to fold origami paper or play games, as well as volunteers who organise concerts and workshops. All of these people are trying to rebuild their lives, far from home.

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