A colossal earthquake and 15-meter tsunami in Fukushima, Japan wreaked havoc and destroyed towns on March 11, 2011. The natural disaster set off the world’s worst nuclear travesty since Chernobyl in the 1980s.
The devastation resulted from the disabling of the power supply and the consequential cooling of 3 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. Each of the reactor’s 3 cores melted in the initial three days.
The area became contaminated from the fallout of a nuclear disaster.
Those who lived in the contaminated zones left. Had they stayed, they would have risked a domino effect of horrible health issues, including potential death. One man did not leave, however. He refused, and his reason for staying is both rare and remarkable.
Everyone left, but Matsumura Naoto remained.
Matsumura Naoto remained in the ‘nuclear exclusion zone’ to care for the animals that were left behind. These are animals who had no choice in staying or leaving, and who would otherwise have been left to die.
“As long as I’m here, they won’t starve,” said Matsumura.
“At first I didn’t think too much and wasn’t expecting to do this for five years. They are live animals, you can’t just feed them once and then abandon them.”
The future health of the area is unknown.
Matsumura is the sole person living in the area, a community that used to have a population of 16,000.
“Nobody can ensure your safety here,” said Matsumura. “They said that the radiation was low here and that we did not need to worry because nothing will happen.”
“But if anything happens, they will definitely not admit to any connection with nuclear radiation.”
Needless to say, Matsumura has a heart for the animals. He feels like it’s his responsibility to stay, because he believes other people won’t come back anytime soon.
“They cleaned the site and built hospitals and hotels, so now it’s the problem of the people if they don’t want to go back home,” he said.
He will stay…for the animals.
Matsumura says that he will remain there indefinitely, taking care of the animals—the only man in Fukushima.