It’s been six years since 150,000 people were displaced when three nuclear reactors failed in Fukushima, Japan, after an earthquake and tsunami hit the island nation on March 11, 2011. It was the world’s most serious nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 and recently a Japanese court held that the country’s government was partially liable for the accident.
A video above published by National Geographic on its YouTube channel, follows displaced residents who revisit their hometowns as anti-nuclear activists. As part of the process to clean-up areas in the vicinity of the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Plant that were evacuated because of fear of radiation.
As some of these areas are being reopened to former residents, a clean-up process in underway as part of which contaminated soil put into bags and then removed.
“In those bags, is the soil I was born on. In those bags, is our hometown. In those bags, is our identity,” says an activist in Iitate Village, 2.4 miles (around 3.8km) from the disaster strike, in the video.
While it will require decades to clean-up the surrounding area and anti-nuclear sentiment in the country remains strong, the Japanese government is bidding for a nuclear rebirth and restarted their fifth reactor since 2011’s disaster in 2016.