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Fukushima evacuee Hisao Yanai stands for a portrait after returning home to his native town, Naraha, Japan, in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, Sept. 30, 2015.  <br />
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In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 12 miles from Naraha. Some 488 thousand people evacuated; in 2015, nearly 25% remained displaced. Naraha is the first town to reopen since the disaster, following a massive decontamination campaign. Residents were allowed to return home full-time on Sept. 5, 2015. Only an estimated 100 residents have returned, out of a pre-disaster population of 7,400. <br />
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When the tsunami hit, Hisao Yanai was head of the local Yakuza (Japanese mafia) in Naraha. He says the disaster changed him; he decided to leave the mafia and dedicate himself to helping people. He now owns a Japanese pub in Naraha, but kept many symbols of his former status, including a taxi-yellow Hummer and the stuffed polar bear in the foyer of his sprawling house. <br />
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Just after this photo (part of a series for Mother Jones magazine) Yanai sat beside the bear, holding a whiteboard on his lap as he wrote with his one hand about his hope — “Solidarity” — and his worry for the future: “how to accomplish the reconstruction of my hometown.” <br />
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© Michael Forster Rothbart Photography<br />
www.mfrphoto.com • 607-267-4893<br />
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Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart<br />
Date:  9/30/2015<br />
File#:  Canon — Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital camera frame B17337
Fukushima evacuee Hisao Yanai stands for a portrait after returning home to his native town, Naraha, Japan, in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, Sept. 30, 2015.

In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 12 miles from Naraha. Some 488 thousand people evacuated; in 2015, nearly 25% remained displaced. Naraha is the first town to reopen since the disaster, following a massive decontamination campaign. Residents were allowed to...
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