TOKYO -- Photographer Ko Sasaki drove me through the Fukushima evacuation zone in the summer of 2016. I had been there twice before to record programs for National Public Radio in the U.S. and NHK in Japan, but both had hired me to report on post-disaster stories of resilience, to show what had changed since the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. Sasaki was showing me what hadn't.
Sasaki is a seasoned professional. His photographs appear in The New York Times, Forbes magazine, Wired and other mainstream publications. But his obsession with Fukushima and its people comes from a personal commitment: He feels that the region is still being exploited, mistreated and misrepresented by Japan's government and corporate officials, who cling to tatemae (public face and behavior, or "keeping up appearances"), he says, without a hint of honne (genuine inner sentiment and emotional truth).