Friday, January 27, 2012

Naoto Matsumura defiant in Japan's exclusion zone: One man defies Japanese government and is Tomioka's only resident



In the shadow of the Fukushima nuclear plant, one man's quiet defiance echoes through the contaminated, empty streets of Tomioka, Japan.

Tomioka, 10 miles (16 kilometers) away from the disaster, is inside the 12.4 mile (20-kilometer) radius of the government-mandated evacuation zone. But that hasn't stopped Naoto Matsumura, 52, a life-long resident and fifth generation farmer, from refusing to heed the mandatory evacuation since the nuclear meltdown.

"I'm full of rage," says Matsumura. "That's why I'm still here. I refuse to leave and let go of this anger and grief. I weep when I see my hometown. The government and the people in Tokyo don't know what's really happening here."

His defiance began with a simple desire to feed the animals on his farm. The government evacuated 78,000 residents around the exploding plant without a plan to rescue pets and valuable livestock.

As Matsumura began to feed his own animals, the neighborhood's desperate cats and dogs started showing up. He started to feed them too and decided he couldn't leave them behind to die. When Matsumura ran out of food, he slipped out of the exclusion zone and bought dog and cat food and then snuck back into town.

Weeks turned into months and now nearly a year. Conditions are growing worse by the day, says Matsumura. more