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Malaysian photographer denies faking Fukushima photos

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian photographer Keow Wee Loong has denied claims that he had fabricated the photographs he took at the radioactive exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan.

A screenshot of The Guardian's website featuring photographer Keow Wee Loong's Fukushima photos.

A screenshot of The Guardian's website featuring photographer Keow Wee Loong's Fukushima photos.

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian photographer Keow Wee Loong has denied claims that he had fabricated the photographs he took at the radioactive exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan.

Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski, who himself had photographed Fukushima in the past, accused Mr Keow in a blog post on Monday (July 18) of faking the trip and the photographs published, labelling him an “attention seeking kid”.

He also claimed that most of the photographs Mr Keow took were from areas that were already open to the public due to receding radioactive exposures.

But Mr Keow, 28, published on his Facebook page several versions of maps portraying the exclusion zone and also his GPS coordinates, which showed that according to Greenpeace and Huffington Post Japan’s published maps of the area, he did pass through a “red zone” among the four towns he visited — Tomioka, Naime, Futaba, Okuma — during his recent trip in June.

“I really didn’t expect a fellow photographer will write such a thing about another photographer while highlighting only the town of Namie but not the other towns I have been,” Mr Keow posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

Mr Podniesinski, in his blog, posted a map that corresponded with Mr Keow’s GPS coordinates that appeared to show the latter had only gone to “green zones” that are already accessible tothe public.

Mr Keow, however, answered on his Facebook post a series of commonly asked questions regarding his trip and the photos taken, including his experience entering the exclusion zones without a valid permit after losing his cash and cards upon arriving in Tokyo.

He said a permit application process takes about a week, which he was unable to afford after losing his money, and thus made the trip without a permit.

“There are many allegations calling me a thief, claiming I was not even there and that I broke into private property ….I can’t respond to all questions like this every second, so I have explained everything here and won’t repeat myself again,” he said.

Mr Keow however apologised to the actual residents of Fukushima if they had taken offence to his photographs while also stressing that he did not “hate” Mr Podniesinski despite the latter’s allegations.

He said that he had limited time in all four towns and that he would have given a “better view” of exclusion zones if he was able to enter with a permit.

Mr Keow was also the subject of a scathing open letter by a blogger named only as Pierce, who had criticised Mr Keow’s photos as a “publicity stunt”.

Major US news organisations like CNN and TIME had published Mr Keow’s photos over the past week.

Parts of Fukushima came under the exclusion zone after a nuclear plant there had a meltdown on March 11, 2011, following the Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. MALAY MAIL ONLINE

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