Over 160,000 people were evacuated from their homes in 2011 when a tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. What's left behind is a 20km radius radioactive exclusion zone where very few residents dare to return.
Photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski ventured into the zone in September and captured eerie scenes of life frozen in time: abandoned cars and bikes, and empty supermarkets with food still on the shelves.
"When I entered the exclusion zone, the first thing I noticed was the huge scale of decontamination work," Podniesinski said, in a story accompanying the photos provided by photo agency Rex Shutterstock. Thousands of workers are trying to scrub the zone of radioactive material, so that more residents may feel safe enough to return in the future.
Podniesinki wasn't able to get access to worst-affected areas in the exclusion zone, but the towns he did reach were chilling. "Futaba, Namie and Tomioka are ghost towns whose emptiness is terrifying and show a tragedy that affected hundreds of thousands of people," he said.
See Podniesinki's photos inside the exclusion zone below:
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