Nature has come for Fukushima. Six years after a nuclear meltdown resulted in a mass exodus of neighboring residents, the Fukushima prefecture is slowly being engulfed by a sea of green. Access to the Fukushima Exclusion Zone is still tightly regulated, but a photographer from Japan’s Asahi Shimbun recently braved the so-called “difficult-to-return zones” this past July, taking pictures with a drone and a helicopter.
Returning to a place he lived as a child, Tetsuro Takehana experienced a haunting homecoming. “It was as if time had stopped,” he said. “And yet the grass and trees continue to grow.”
The parking lot of a once-busy shopping mall is now overwhelmed by weeds breaking through the asphalt. Football goalposts, smothered in grass, are all that remain visible of an elementary school playground. Cars are being swallowed up by grass.
Time—and life—marches on, with or without us.
Images via YouTube