Decontaminating Fukushima – Launched March 13, 2017 – Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more – In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan and destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Some 488 thousand people evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the three-part disaster, in 2017, nearly 25% remain displaced. A massive effort is now underway to decontaminate towns in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. Thousands of laborers are cleaning or demolishing every building, and removing and incinerating all topsoil in inhabited areas. In the adjacent forests and mountains, radiation levels remain higher and will not be cleaned. Naraha, 12 miles south of the nuclear plant, was the first closed town to reopen after the disaster. Residents were allowed to return home full-time on Sept. 5, 2015. To date, an estimated 800 residents have returned, out of a pre-disaster population of 7,400. In March and April 2017, four more towns, Namie, Kawamata, Iitate and Tomioka will allow residents to return. Some areas closest to Fukushima Daiichi are too radioactive and may never reopen. Michael Forster Rothbart’s reportage in Fukushima was funded by grants from NPPA and the International Center for Journalists.