This segment originally aired Nov. 29, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced plans to clean up Fukushima, the site of a massive 2011 nuclear disaster, and move former residents back by spring 2017. But not everyone wants to go back.
“It’s not possible in my lifetime,” Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba Prefecture, told VICE News correspondent Isobel Yeung. “The radiation doesn’t go away that easily.”
Radioactive materials remain hazardous for hundreds of years, but just five years have passed since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown. Japan’s effort to clean up more than 600 square miles is estimated to cost the government over $180 billion.