Japanese farmer who refused to leave area near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant so he can take care of his animals By Daniel Miller They call him Radioactive Man, the Japanese farmer who refused to leave his home town despite it being less than six miles away from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Defiant Naoto [...]

Sunday Times 2

World’s most radioactive man

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Japanese farmer who refused to leave area near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant so he can take care of his animals

By Daniel Miller

They call him Radioactive Man, the Japanese farmer who refused to leave his home town despite it being less than six miles away from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Radioactive Man: Japanese farmer Naoto Matsumura had lived in the the Fukushima radiation zone for two years

Defiant Naoto Matsumura, 53, is the only remaining inhabitant of the town of Tomioka which was a thriving community of 16,000 people before the tsunami hit two years ago.

The rice farmer disobeyed government orders to leave and has stayed on to feed the town’s animals including his own 50 cows and two ostriches.
Mr Matsumura is permanently exposed to up to 17 times the level of radiation that is considered safe.
He put his health at further risk by eating food that had also been exposed to radiation, although he is now surviving on relief supplies delivered from outside and water that has been checked for radiation.

When researchers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency conducted tests, Mr Matsumura was found to have the highest level of radiation in anyone they had tested.

He told Vice magazine: ‘When I went down and let them look me over, they told me I was the “champion”.
‘But they also told me that I wouldn’t get sick for 30 or 40 years. I’ll most likely be dead by then anyway, so I couldn’t care less.’
Matsumara, who is a fifth generation rice-farmer, did leave the town for a short while to live with his parents in the south of the country, but after a few days he could not bear the thought of the animals left to fend for themselves so he returned.
He added: ‘I was scared at first because I knew the radiation had spread everywhere.

‘The next thought in my head was that if I stayed too long, I’d end up with cancer or leukemia. But, the longer I was with the animals, the more I came to see that we were all still healthy and that we would be OK.’

As well as the animals on his own farm Mr Matsumura now cares for dozens of former pet dogs and cats left behind when the town was evacuated.

He explained: ‘Our dogs didn’t get fed for the first few days. When I did eventually feed them, the neighbors’ dogs started going crazy.
‘I went over to check on them and found that they were all still tied up. Everyone in town left thinking they would be back home in a week or so, I guess. From then on, I fed all the cats and dogs every day.

‘They couldn’t stand the wait, so they’d all gather around barking up a storm as soon as they heard my truck. Everywhere I went there was always barking. Like, ‘we’re thirsty’ or, ‘we don’t have any food.’ So I just kept making the rounds.’

Daily Mail, London




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