By Josh Saunders
This eerie electronics store within an abandoned nuclear ghost town looks like a post-apocalyptic scene with over $100k (75kGBP) worth of gaming consoles and goods left inside.
From Wii and PSP gaming consoles to supermarket goods and more, the preserved site in Namie, Japan, is more akin to TV show ‘The Walking Dead’ than real life.
With fully stocked shelves and cash ‘most-likely’ still in the tills after a nuclear disaster seven years-ago forced residents to leave everything behind and rush to safety.
More than 200,000 inhabitants within a 20km radius were forced to evacuate, when an earthquake and tsunami disrupted the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Compared to a ‘ghost town’ by Urban Explorer Bob Thissen, who visited the previously inaccessible area, with spots previously categorised as ‘uninhabitable’ due to the dangerous levels of radiation.
Bob, from Heerlen, The Netherlands, said: “There was everything from books, magazines to CDs, DVDs, games consoles and all kinds of games.
“It’s the perfect example of life after mankind or a scene straight out of ‘The Walking Dead.’
“For me as an urban explorer I had mixed feelings, I went to Fukushima to photograph the aftermath of the terrible disaster.
“It has a post-apocalyptic feeling and it’s still untouched, in contrast to the touristic Chernobyl, where every inch has been photographed.
“But while walking around in the area you notice how big the impact most have been for the inhabitants.
“Imagine you have to leave everything behind suddenly and never have the chance to go back.
“The fact that people left this kind of value behind and never came back to pick anything up in 6-7 years, shows us the impact of the disaster.
“I am sure that some of the cash registers are still filled with money
“It gives you the impression of walking around in a ghost town. The area will never be the same.
“The government declares the green areas are safe, but most of the inhabitants will never return back home.”
The lasting radioactive damage to the area surrounding the nuclear powerplant meant the area was uninhabitable for a long time.
Bob said: “The area was just ‘cleared’ from radiation outside and publicly opened.
“There are three zones. The red zone, orange zone and green zone.
“The red zone is closed but still a lot of people are working in this zone, renovating or demolishing buildings.
“The orange zone is open at daytime and the green zone is ‘safe’ and always open. There are also people working in these zones.”
Bob, who was filming for his YouTube series, Exploring the Unbeaten Path, while visiting the location says police patrols made their visit especially difficult.
But in contrast to most sites abandoned sites, the stores remain near-perfectly preserved and from what can be seen, Bob says no looting has taken place.
Bob said: “In almost every country worldwide, such stores would have been fully robbed in days. Not in Japan, where people have a lot of respect for each other and other properties.
“There is a huge amount of police presence in these three areas and they patrol 24/7 to keep curious people and trespassers out.
“It was extremely hard to walk on the streets as two white tourists without getting noticed. When people saw us walking they called the police immediately.
“Police turned up sometimes with six cars while we were just walking on an open public road.
“We had to keep an eye on the patrols, get out of the car at the right time and had to go inside unseen, which was quite impossible in some areas. They are emptying a lot of stores.
“In contrast to Chernobyl & Pripyat they want to make the area inhabited again.”
Bob fears that we have not learned from the accidents at nuclear powerplants, like in Fukushima.
He added: “It left a big impression on me, even more because the same could happen in the area where I live.
“I live close to two dangerously old nuclear power stations and they keep on running despite all of their technical troubles.
“People just don’t learn from their mistakes. I am sure this stubbornness will cause mankind to become extinct in the future.”
To see more of his work visit: www.bobthissen.com