School satchels remain left behind at the entrance of Futaba Minami Elementary School in the same position on Feb. 2 as they were six years ago when the earthquake struck followed by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture, forcing the children to evacuate.
FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture–An untidy pile of school satchels lies beside the doorway of an abandoned school near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Beside them the shoes of children remain in a rack. Textbooks are discarded.
When the youngsters fled, they were clearly in a rush and were perhaps wearing only indoor soft shoes.
These simple daily items give an impression of the turmoil immediately following the March 11, 2011, magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
The children were evacuated and have not been allowed to return due to the nuclear disaster triggered by the quake and tsunami. The children still cannot return to pick up their belongings because of high radiation levels.
Reporters have been allowed in to examine the Futaba Minami Elementary School in an area that is still under an evacuation order.
The school itself has been relocated to Iwaki in the same prefecture. It restarted in 2014 with eight pupils, down from the predisaster number of 192.