Radiation Risk Prompts Selfie Crackdown in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Zone

Workers wearing radiation protective gear rest on a road at TEPCO's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, November 12, 2014. Tourists are being warned not to take selfies in the area due to radiation. REUTERS/Shizuo Kambayashi/Pool

Tourists visiting Fukushima are being warned not to pose for selfies due to the high levels of radiation lingering from the disaster at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011.

In a bid to rebuild its tourism industry, travel firms offer trips to towns in the Japanese prefecture most affected by the damage of the 9.1-magnitude earthquake, which triggered a tsunami and nuclear disaster.

But now 26 warning signs stating simply "No Entry!" have been placed along a stretch of National Road 114, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported.

Motorists can use the road, which reopened last September, but a number of tourists oblivious to the dangers have been getting out of their cars to take photos. Access is banned for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Local police have asked the central government to deal with the trespassers.

"When police questioned foreigners who were taking photos in the difficult-to-return zone, they said they did not know that entering the area was prohibited," a police official said, according to the Japanese paper.

Areas north west of the Fukushima nuclear plant had the highest levels of radiation as they were under the plume of radioactivity when the four nuclear reactors were destroyed.

More than 200,000 people within a 20km radius had to evacuate Namie. The area around the power plant is still not fully back to normal, with electronic signs on the highway to Tomioka showing radiation levels 100 times normal background levels.

However this month a shopping complex in the nearby town of Naraha was opened, suggesting that things were returning to normal, the Japan Times reported. In September 2015, the government allowed residents to return.

However, a study showed that radioactive waste had flowed into Tokyo Bay for five years after the disaster, the Asahi Shimbun reported. There have also been delays to the removal of spent nuclear fuel from the number three reactor.

The World Association Of Nuclear Operators (WANO) said that lessons learned from the disaster have led to improvements in the completion of more than 460 nuclear plants worldwide.

Peter Prozesky, CEO at WANO, said: "The lessons learned from Fukushima have resulted in our members collectively implementing a total of approximately 6000 safety enhancement activities worldwide.

"Overall the margin of nuclear safety has been improved from the levels experienced before Fukushima."