Two Men Still Care For All The Pets Left Behind During Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Ten years on from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, two men still care for all the pets left behind in the town.
In 2011 an earthquake and tsunami caused three nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen explosions and the release of radioactive contamination into the town of Ōkuma, which is located in the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan.
While residents of the town were forced to abandon their homes and flee the disaster, two men, Naoto Matsumura and Sakae Kato remained behind.
Both men, who live alone, have settled in towns around 12 miles away from the exclusion zone where they take care of stray animals left behind after the town’s evacuation.
Following the nuclear meltdowns, the government did not put forward any plans to rescue the town’s animals or pets.
Kato told Reuters he is currently caring for 41 cats and one rescue dog, Pochi, and will remain for as long as necessary. So far, he has buried 23 cats in his garden.
‘I want to make sure I am here to take care of the last one. After that I want to die, whether that be a day or hour later,’ he said.
Aside from the cats he houses, he also leaves food out for stray cats in a storage shed. He estimates that he spends $7,000 a month on animals, buying food for his dog and for wild boars seen hear his home.
Due to there being no running water, he has to fill bottles from a nearby spring and must drive to the closest public toilets.
‘I don’t want to leave, I like living in these mountains,’ he said.
According to a Facebook page dedicated to the efforts of Matsumura, a 52-year-old farmer, he ignored directions from Japanese authorities and chose to stay behind to care for his dog, cats and other cattle left behind.
‘Now it’s just me taking care of the animals,’ he told the BBC back in 2011. Since the disaster, Matsumura has been vocal about his views that the Japanese government failed to adequately help and protect those in the Fukushima Prefecture.
‘I’m full of rage. 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,’ he told CNN.
‘As Matsumura began to feed his own animals, the neighbourhood’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,’ the Facebook page reads.
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