The Fukushima nuclear disaster’s legacy: An inescapable stigma via C/Net

Commentary: Pockets of innovation, like a drone testing field, have some hoping the region sheds its notoriety. But it’s not that simple.


The J-Village hotel and sports complex in Fukushima was immaculate, its grand lobby welcoming us with bright lights and pristine marble floors. Several furnished conference rooms stood ready to host one event after another. 

There’ was just one jarring thing: the utter silence throughout the facility.

It wasn’t until we located the reception desk, tucked out of sight from the main lobby, that we found another human. The employee noted that only 15 guests were staying in the 200-room hotel. 

Welcome to Fukushima.


Tepco and local government officials are pushing the concept of an “Innovation Coast” in the region through facilities like the Naraha Center for Remote Control Technology and the Robot Test Field in nearby Minamisoma. The idea is to tap into the investment already being made in the cleanup effort to create a Silicon Valley of robotics and drone technology.


In Japan, only 9 of the 35 nuclear reactors in the country have switched back on, and there remains public concern over the use of nuclear power, according to the World Nuclear Industry’s 2018 status report. It’s unlikely any nuclear reactors in Fukushima will see life again. 

But ridding itself of nuclear power isn’t going to reverse the damage done to Fukushima — both to the land and its reputation. The cleanup effort could take upwards of $70 billion and at least 40 years.

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