Google has released new Street View images from Japan that show Fukushima prefecture is slowly getting cleaned up, five years after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear meltdown and killed more than 18,000.

The new images are the third set collected as part of the Great East Japan Earthquake Digital Archive Project, which Google says it is doing to help current and future generations understand what happened.

The images suggest that larger items like the fishing boats brought kilometres inland by the up-to-39-metre wall of water are finally gone, after sitting there for years. For example, this field in Namie was still filled with ships and vehicles when Google Street View cameras visited for the second time in July 2014:

Namie, Fukushima, Japan, in July 2014.

But the same field was clear by September 2015:

Namie, Fukushima, in Sept. 2015.

What apparently hasn’t been dealt with are decimated buildings. Although smaller pieces of debris appear to be getting picked up, plenty of concrete walls and foundations are left. Here's an image of a building taken in March 2013, two years after the tsunami:

Namie, Fukushima, Japan, in March, 2013.

And here's the same building in Sept. 2015; it looks like not much has changed:

Building in Fukushima Sept 2015

Japan’s Reconstruction Agency claims that 90 per cent of railway tracks have been restored and 70 per cent of fishing ports and farms have been repaired.

Progress has been slower on public housing promised for evacuees, with only 60 per cent completed. More than 470,000 people were evacuated in March 2011 and an estimated 180,000 have not returned home.

With files from The Associated Press