There are few events in world history that make us ask ourselves: Where was I when that happened?

I still remember when the news broke about a plane crashing into the World Trade Centre in 2001 and the visuals of the giant waves hitting Indonesia and Thailand’s coast in 2004. Another shocking tragedy that affected so many of us was the tsunami hitting the nuclear power station on Fukushima’s coast. The images from these events are forever seared into memory. 

It’s been a decade since the disaster took place. However, the trauma is still fresh, especially for the survivors who physically experienced the catastrophe. We had seen Chornobyl exactly 25 years before this, and with Fukushima, we once again all witnessed the horror of another ​nuclear ​accident​. ​Like Chornobyl, hundreds and thousands of families had to be evacuated overnight as their homes were no longer safe. Nuclear radiation was spreading every minute, contaminating everything on its way.

Ten years is a long journey. Looking at the Greenpeace archives, beginning with the first team documentation from 2011 up until 2019, it reminds us that while a decade may seem like a long time, it is not enough to wash away the pains caused by the accident. 

Here we present the visual documentations Greenpeace has done in Japan over the years, as we try to show the extent of radiation in various prefectures.  This is Greenpeace bearing witness, so we may never forget Fukushima’s horrors and for us to continue campaigning for a truly nuclear-free world.

Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant Damage. © DigitalGlobe
A satellite image shows damage at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant In Fukushima Prefecture. The damage was caused by the offshore earthquake that occurred on 11 March 2011.
© DigitalGlobe
Measuring Radiation in Kawamata City. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
A group of Greenpeace radiation experts monitor different locations around the evacuation area that surrounds the crisis-stricken nuclear plant, in order to assess the true extent of radiation risks to the local population at Kawamata City, 60 km from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
© Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Measuring Radiation on Boot. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Greenpeace radiation expert Jacob Namminga of the Netherlands checks his colleague’s boots for traces of radioactivity during decontamination procedures at Kawamata City, 60 km from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
© Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Women at a Shelter in Yonezawa. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Two women sit around a heater at Yonezawa gymnasium which is provided shelter for 504 people who either lost their homes by the Tsunami or live near Fukushima Nuclear Power Station.
© Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Fukushima Anniversary Protest in Tokyo. © Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace
Greenpeace activists join tens of thousands of people marching on the Japanese parliament in remembrance of the 2011 triple disaster in Fukushima, and to demand the Japanese government to abandon its dangerous nuclear programme. Greenpeace is calling on the Japanese authorities and governments globally to fix faulty laws governing the nuclear industry and force all nuclear companies to be fully accountable for nuclear disasters.
© Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace
Measuring Radioactivity in Fukushima. © Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace
A radiation measurement tool used by a Greenpeace team member to check contamination levels in a park near Watari, a suburb of Fukushima City. Greenpeace conducted radiation monitoring around the Fukushima area for years, and has found serious risks to public health, inadequate decontamination activities, and a complete failure by the authorities to protect the Japanese population.
© Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace
Bags with nuclear waste. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Bags with nuclear waste in Obori, Namie-town inside the highly contaminated exclusion zone in Namie, Fukushima prefecture. Ten years later, this area remains closed for people never to return to. The Japanese government plans to open a small area of Obori as early as 2023, however the levels of radiation measured by Greenpeace in this highly contaminated area mean that it will be many more decades, even beyond the end of the century, before radiation levels will even approach government targets.
© Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Radioactive Hot Spot in Watari. © Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace
Sign indicating a radioactive hot spot.
© Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace