Tuesday 18 June 2013

Kawauchi Revisited

In the last two posts I showed you what it was like in Tomioka, hit by the tsunami and with the ban on entry only recently lifted, which we visited last Saturday. From there we travelled west over the mountain road into Kawauchi which I visited last year Kawauchi-mura May 2012. Kawauchi was evacuated in March 2011 but the ban was lifted in September that year and the council moved back in March 2012. But even now only 40% of the residents have returned to live full time. Nonetheless, there were people in the fields, people riding bikes, and a lot of decontamination work had been done. Last year I recorded radiation levels of 0.414 μSv/hour, this time 0.22. That's less than in my local park in Koriyama! Last year it was depressing to see the fields laid waste when at this time of year the rice should be pricked out in neat lines and the fields flooded with water which on a fine day reflects the mountains and the sky. This year about half the land was back under cultivation, the first planting since the disaster. The rice will be purchased by the county, tested, then thrown away. Still, after Tomioka, it was good to see that an area can be regenerated. But here are the photos. Judge for yourself.
Bye for now,

Leaving the ghost town of Tomioka. The traffic lights are working. But there's nothing else.

People were working all along this mountain road (Route 36) removing soil and undergrowth
 to create a clean  strip along the side of the road.

Timeslip. Ironic. The first thing we saw as we entered Kawauchi was an election poster of
Kan, PM at the time of the disaster, promising to make Japan well again! (元気な日本を復活させる)

The next thing we saw was this huge tip for bags of contaminated soil.

But I approve of  this kind of reconstruction. An old farmhouse with brand new thatch.

Some of the land was still uncultivated. About half the land was being farmed.

Houses are decontaminated and the area 20 metres around.

Same here.

This will be the first crop since the disaster.
Good to see things getting back to normal.

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