Naraha, a light of hope

Higasni Nihon Daisinnsai (the Great East Japan Earthquake) as the Japanese people call the March 2011 eartquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, hasn’t turned into an old memory yet. Scars are still visibile in most parts of the No-Go Zone, the 20km area that was evacuated after the Daiichi Power Plant meltdown.

_mg_3560The little town of Naraha, which lies across the border of the exclusion zone even though the 98% of its population used to live inside it, has been the first town ever to be completely re-opened to its inhabitants last September 2015, when the authorities lifted the evacuation order that was issued almost five years before.
After almost six months only 300 out of 7000 people have returned to their homes. Their will to be back home was much stronger than any fear for radiations or for any discomfort a town that’s being re-built almost entirely could bring to their lives. There are still many problems to be faced but daily life is going back to normal, infrastructures are being renewed and services are slowly being restored, including trains, taxis, restaurants, an hotel and a mini market.

The reportage was published on Corriere della Sera.