Fukushima beach now open for swimming

A beach in Fukushima Prefecture has opened for the first time since the 2011 nuclear disaster.
A beach in Fukushima Prefecture has opened for the first time since the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Children splashed in the water and surfers caught waves near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant as a beach finally opened to them for the first time since the 2011 nuclear disaster.

A cheering crowd came back on Saturday to the Kitaizumi beach about 25 kilometres north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as the city of Minamisoma officially started to allow people to swim there.

The beach was very popular among surfers as they had held national and world championships before the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Local resident Sayaka Mori was walking on the beach with her husband and their three children, Kyodo News agency reported.

"I grew up while seeing this sea. Coming back here for the first time in nine years, I feel a sense of nostalgia," Mori said with a smile, according to Kyodo.

Mori's house, which used to be located near the beach, was washed away by the tsunami.

In March 2011, a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of the north-east, killing about 18,500 people.

The twin natural disasters also caused the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

Australian Associated Press