Google Street View has virtual tour inside Japan nuclear zone

12:32 PM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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Google's camera-equipped vehicle moves through Namie in a photo released on March 27, 2013 and taken earlier in the month. (Google/AP/NBC)

(NBC) -- Crumpled homes, abandoned shops, empty streets. The town of Namie has lain virtually untouched since its residents were evacuated two years ago, following the accident at the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant.

On Wednesday they were able to see their town again thanks to Google, which began offering glimpses of Namie on its Street View service. The town's mayor, Tamotsu Baba, invited Google to document the current state of Namie after receiving numerous requests from constituents who wanted a reminder of their home town.

RELATED | Google Street View: Namie, Japan, post-tsunami

Although some restrictions on entering the town have been lifted, Namie's 21,000 former residents have not yet been allowed to return to live there due to the still-high levels of radiation.

In a message posted on the Google website, the mayor said he hoped that sharing the images with the rest of the world would serve as a reminder of the consequences of a nuclear accident.

(NBC News)

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