In 'Shadowlands' haunting photographs depict the profound sense of loss after Fukushima

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More than 150,000 people have been displaced, leaving their homes and livelihoods behind ©Robert Knoth/Greenpeace

Marking the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, Greenpeace has launched a global exhibition highlighting the consequences of mass evacuation and the fear of deadly fall out. ‘Shadowlands’ is a series of haunting photographs depicting those displaced by the crisis and the speed with which empty towns and villages fall into disrepair, with nature beginning to take over.

High levels of radioactive contamination caused more than 150,000 people to flee the Fukushima area. Monkeys now raid the empty homes and streets for food and wild boars roam the fields.

The exhibition features the work of award-winning photographer Robert Knoth and documentary maker Antoinette de Jong. It’s available online at

"The Fukushima nuclear disaster is having a dramatic impact on the environment and the lives of the people from a wide area around the nuclear plant," said Knoth. "We sought to document this through landscape and portrait photography, as well as interviews with people from the affected region – some of whom may never be able to return to their homes. What we found was a profound sense of loss."

Greenpeace has monitored the area and radiation levels since the beginning of the disaster, and argues that the Japanese Government has put the nuclear industry first, ahead of the local people. The on-going impacts of radioactive fallout upon agriculture and seafood mean that the region will be damaged for generations

"The underestimation of the disaster by the authorities has exacerbated the suffering of the people of Fukushima," said Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director. "Now, the government is rushing to restart reactors against public opinion, and without learning any lessons from Fukushima. We hope our exhibition will give it pause to reflect upon the ramifications of its decisions."

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Link to information on Greenpeace radiation testing in Japan:

The Fukushima collaboration by Knoth and De Jong continues their earlier work with Greenpeace on the on-going effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on the Ukrainian people. Links to Robert Knoth’s work in Chernobyl:

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