The main street is deserted and quiet except for the eerie echoes of music being played somewhere in the distance. Pieces of shattered glass lie scattered along sidewalks outside collapsed buildings, some with their second-story roofs smashed flat on the pavement. Yards and driveways are overgrown with weeds, and schools and playgrounds are silent and forlorn.
Welcome to Odaka, a Japanese town of about 13,000 residents before a triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown that began on March 11, 2011, turned the once-charming coastal village into a ghost town.
While many other Japanese towns and cities suffered the first two calamities, Odaka, which is in the southern district of the larger city Minami Soma, is unusual because of its proximity to the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant -- just 6 miles from the southeastern edge of town.
The plant, which suffered meltdowns in three of its four nuclear reactors and breaches of its containment walls after the quake, emitted a plume of radioactive smoke that at times drifted over - and through - Odaka's streets over several months.
As a result, the town was frozen in time for more than a year after the disaster, abandoned in the so-called "exclusion zone" established by Japanese authorities around the Fukushima plant.
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )
The parents of a nightclub worker killed in an arson fire three years ago filed a suit in the Nagoya District Court on Monday seeking damages against top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group. (Tokyo Reporter )
Kyodo News said Monday that it has dismissed Satoshi Kondo, 51, deputy chief of its general administration bureau and former personnel affairs division chief, for meeting individually with a female student searching for a job and doing an inappropriate act.
(Jiji Press )