All images: xanthon/Imgur

Since March 2011, a 30-mile radius around the ruined Fukushima Daiichi reactor has been a designated exclusion zone, unsafe to travel. Over 100,000 evacuees left in a hurry and left behind a snapshot of what life looked like in the moments just before they fled. A brave soul recently snuck in to photograph the apocalyptic scene today.

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Imgur user Xanathon recently uploaded a haunting photoset that shows the effects of five years without human intervention. The images include grocery stores full of radioactive food, laundromats with clothes still in the dryer, and homes filled with lost keepsakes.

The photographer described “a burning sensation in my eyes and thick chemical smell in the air” when he entered the red zone, the most radioactive area around Fukushima. Strangely he chose to wear a face mask and gloves, but shorts and sandals. “I can find food, money, gold, laptop and other valuable in the red zone,” he wrote in somewhat broken English, “I’m amaze that nobody looted this town clean.”

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Not only wasn’t there looting, but the hastily abandoned wares in shops have been left untouched for half a decade. Some items have survived disuse better than others. But the whole scene is a chilling reminder of the Fukushima disaster and the consequences that will endure for many years to come.

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