Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dark days of Tokyo City

Dark days in ghost town of Tokyo: The deserted streets of a once vibrant capital now crippled by power cuts.

It is one of the great cities of the world, home to 13million and as advanced as any metropolis on the planet. Now Tokyo, usually so full of life by day and night, has the aura of death about it. Its lights have been cut, supermarket shelves are empty, there are queues for everything and aftershocks come every day.

Ghost town: A landmark crossroads in Tokyo's Ginza district is eerily dark and empty as people stay indoors after warnings about a radioactive cloud from the stricken nuclear plant 150 miles away

You could find a few die-hard Brits and other expatriates who wouldn't leave their beers on the counter in the party-time district of Roppongi for any threatening radioactive cloud, but mostly Tokyo has become eerily quiet. Nobody wants to venture out and the streets are deserted.

Everyone, it seems, shares the opinion that something very bad is happening at the Fukushima nuclear power plant 148 miles away, and nobody wants to risk breathing the air.

The British government has joined other nations in urging its citizens to leave the country whatever way they can, including banding together to join a charter flight. Other Britons trapped in the tsunami-stricken Sendai area have been offered the chance of being driven to Tokyo on a chartered bus.

Dimmer: Buildings in Tokyo turn down the lights as part of electricity saving efforts to avoid massive power outages and, right, its usual neon shine

No man's land: The normally bustling streets of the dynamic city are virtually deserted


Darkness falls: The usually brilliantly lit skyline has been shrouded in darkness to conserve scant resources of electricity as the crisis continues

Business is slow: A taxi driver reads a newspaper as he waits for a fare on an empty street


Contrast: An evacuee from a junior high school studies under the light of a kerosene stove at a makeshift shelter in stricken Ofunato

Eerie: People weave their way between blacked out high rises. Tokyo faces at much as six months of blackouts

What a contrast: While the streets of Tokyo are empty, the city's airports are packed with residents hoping to get away