Abandoned Japanese cars of the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone

The Fukushima plant meltdown following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011 was one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. Today, there’s an area of about 143 square miles that’s still part of the nuclear exclusion zone deemed unsafe for humans to live in. That hasn’t stopped urban explorers from passing through and documenting some of the vehicular ruins that exist within.

What was found Exploring the Unbeaten Path, a YouTube channel, will make any car enthusiast weep. There’s everything from a 1960s Mazda Carol to a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII. The evacuation was so quick that many of the cars were left unlocked. It was likely that many owners did not realize they’d never be able to return to their homes. Particularly sad are a formerly pristine S15 Silvia, Celica GT-Four, and a Eunos 800 (aka Mazda Millenia).

There are entire shops that have been left behind. One seems to have specialized in American cars, with a deserted Lincoln Town Car and Chevy Impala lowriders parked outside. There’s even a repatriated USDM Nissan 240SX 5-speed hatch with fewer than 27,000 miles on the odometer.

So why have these cars been simply left to rot? Unfortunately, the metal they’re made of is contaminated. In the case of a Datsun Violet rally car, it’s giving off 0.45 microsieverts of radiation. According to the videographers, a car has to read less than 0.30 microseiverts to be legal for export.

Still, that hasn’t stopped some people from moving the cars, or pieces of them. The videographers have returned to the Fukushima exclusion zone four times and documented how one R32 Skyline GT-R has had some parts scavenged. At another shop, an AW11 Toyota MR2 and other vehicles have disappeared altogether, fate unknown. Some of the cars have been moved so that they can be scrapped. At one field, cars lined up for the crusher included a Honda S2000, X90 Toyota Mark II, and 200-series Land Cruiser.

While nothing can compare to the human toll of the disaster, these cars stand as a reminder of the tragedy. They’re not your average kei commuters. As enthusiast cars they’re inherently lovable, and were clearly once cherished by their owners.

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7 Responses to Abandoned Japanese cars of the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone

  1. Taylor C. says:

    If this was back in the States, you KNOW the place would have been ransacked by the year 2012.

  2. Land Ark says:

    I just watched this video last night. I didn’t really like how they were opening doors, not that the cars really belong to anyone anymore. It also didn’t surprise me that the police caught up with them pretty quickly.
    At least until recently when the values of the cars exploded it seemed like you could go anywhere in Japan to find abandoned/neglected interesting cars. Certainly not grouped together like this though.
    It was a well done video for sure.

  3. Ian G. says:

    Looks like a setting for a Walking Dead spin-off series. Poor S15 Sylvia.

  4. LB1 says:

    Chernobyl disaster left toys lying around. Fukushima has bigger toys laying around. I don’t know, maybe these are tsunami damaged as well.

  5. Fred Langille says:

    Visualize a news Transformers series … where these cars unit to war against mankind who had irradiated them not only sentient but, angry.

  6. Crown says:

    So these cars are still “hot” and above the allowed limits, but let’s go through them and take photos etc and this little Covid mask will protect us.
    No worries.

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