Ōkuma is a town located in Futaba District, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. In 2010, the town had a population of 11,515. However, the town was totally evacuated in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and residents have been permitted return during daylight hours from May 2013. As of November 2016, the town had an official registered population of 10,700, however this number is due to the municipality continuing to keep track of its residents despite them having been evacuated elsewhere throughout the country. The total area was 78.70 square kilometres (30.39 sq mi).
On 11 March 2011 the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred. The earthquake and tsunami caused severe damage to Ōkuma, especially devastating coastal areas. The tsunami hit and flooded the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, located on the Pacific coast of Ōkuma, and set off the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. By the following morning, the Japanese government had ordered residents to evacuate to outside of a 10 km radius of the power plant. Many residents were evacuated to the nearby city of Tamura, among other cities.
Dogs play in the deserted streets of Okuma
On March 28, 2013, the central government rezoned the town into two areas according to level of radiation, with residents permitted to return to one of the zones for daytime visits. They were prohibited from entering the other zone due to dangerously high levels of radiation for at least another four years.However, only 4 percent of the town area zone is opened to daytime return of residents, and the town remains uninhabitable.
As of 2015, the town is aiming to develop a forested area for inhabitation by 2018. The seaside area of the town, which was once heavily populated, will be turned into a nature reserve.
Fukushima - Superb pictures from a visit to various parts of the exclusion zone