The Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting tsunami that devastated parts of Japan in 2011 was one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. It was further complicated by damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant which ultimately forced residents to evacuate nearby cities.
While the cleanup process has been underway for some time, sections of the region like the city of Namie-machi remain frozen in time. The rest of the world has moved on but for the 21,000 residents that were forced out of their homes, the rebuilding process is still in its infancy.
To that end, Google recently sent a Street View car through the abandoned town with the blessing of Namie-machi mayor Tamotsu Baba. The mayor said in a recent post that many townspeople have asked to see the current state of the city. What’s more, he believes there are many more people around the world that want a better sense of how the nuclear incident affected surrounding communities.
The newly collected imagery is available via Google Maps as well as on a website created by Google called Memories for the Future. The site is dedicated to helping people in Japan share photographs and videos of the region that survived the unimaginable damage. As part of the effort, Google is providing thousands of miles of Street View imagery collected before and after the disaster. The imagery on the site really helps to understand the gravity of the situation as there’s virtually nothing left of many areas.