>> Today residents of Fukushima are starting to trickle back to their devastated towns, and a few are bringing tourists with them. This part of Japan was rocked by a triple disaster in 2011. First an earthquake, then tsunami kept by a nuclear reactor suffering a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Now visitors have arrived looking for something different from their Japan vacation.>> When some people ask, you where did you go to Japan? I went to Fukushima, I went to places that is not usually visited. Some locals hope the curious sightseers may help breathe new life into the deserted area.
Reuter's Tim Kelly went on one of the tours.>> It feels very much like a ghost town. Businesses are very slowly coming back, and most of the people were quite enthusiastic about the idea of people visiting there. Because when they come, they're gonna spend money. It gives a boost to the local economy, it allows businesses to start up a game and it's another incentive for people to come back to the town.
>> Radiation levels are still high in the area. You wouldn't want to leave your tour bus in Akuma Town, where radiation is still 1,000 times higher than normal, and some locals aren't too happy about the devastation they experienced becoming a tourist attraction.>> I often see tourist groups looking around abandoned houses here in Namie town, but I don't like it, I don't want to be a spectacle.
>> Some are even making a comparison to the kind of revival that's happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities that were devastated by nuclear bombs towards the end of World War II.>> But if you look 70 odd years later, the two of the biggest tourist destinations in Japan, both for local tourists and increasingly for foreign tourists.
So in a way, perhaps that provides a kind of a model for how the Fukushima area could be turned into a kind of a tourist attraction.>> Cleanup of the catastrophe, including the removal of melted uranium fuel, could take four decades at the cost of several billion dollars a year.