Fukushima’s Animal Guardian
The case of Naoto Matsumura, the guardian of Fukushima, is the case of one of those people who were forced to leave their homes and abandon all their animals, but who consider them an important part of their family. It’s the story of how humans can destroy something and then build it again, of those who struggle against the effects of nuclear energy and who try to protect their pets.
Naoto Matsumura takes care of many animals that have been left to fend for themselves in Fukushima. After the nuclear accident, he dedicated himself to it with energy, without giving up for a moment.
the nuclear accident
On March 11, 2011 an earthquake occurred on the northeast coast of Japan, followed by a tsunami that caused a massive explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. At the time of the nuclear accident, the plant had six reactors, three of them in operation. It was impossible to cool them down because there were faults in the electrical network.
The risk of radioactive material escaping was so great that the Government decided that the best thing to do was to evacuate the area. In the city of Tomioka lived more than 16,000 people, who were evacuated from an area that is well known for its cultural activity and its cherry blossoms. The lively and lively atmosphere that the city of Tomioka had up to that time was transformed into the backdrop of a ghost town.
In those difficult times, Naoto Matsumura fled with his family to Iwaki, to try to stay in the house of relatives, but they refused to take them in for fear that they were contaminated by the radioactive leak, and they had to go to other refugees to the qualified shelters.
The return of Naoto, the guardian
Naoto wanted to return to Tomioka so as not to abandon all the animals on the farm he loved so much to their fate. He was asked if he was afraid at that time, and he always said yes, that he didn’t know that radiation was everywhere, that he could get cancer and a variety of tumors, but when he saw that the animals were all healthy, he decided stay with them.
When Naoto started to feed his animals, he realized that there were many others that had been abandoned, dogs and cats locked in their houses without being able to leave, cows, pigs, ponies and even an ostrich. Upon hearing the sound of his truck, all these animals would start barking, or meowing, or approaching him, in search of food.
The Fukushima Guardian’s Aid Route
Naoto realized that he had to intervene and began to think about going around the area to provide food and care for all the many animals that had been abandoned by their owners, with no time to take them together and unable to try to negotiate with the Government a solution. The isolated area covered about forty kilometers, with hundreds of animals left to their own devices, without water, without food, all slowly dying.
Matsumura’s resources were very limited, it seemed impossible to feed so many animals, so, provided with a solar energy structure, as there is no electricity in the region, he was able to connect to the Internet and ask for help from around the world through a page on Facebook. And he did it. Hundreds of people donated food and resources for Naoto’s animal relief work.
Periodically, helicopters unload food in the area, which makes the survival of many animals possible. Cows that were once locked up on farms and had no future are now free.
Medical examinations on Naoto, the keeper of the animals
Image source: www.eldiario.es
Tests that were done on Naoto to see if he had been contaminated by radiation unfortunately came back positive. He is contaminated. But even so, he will continue with his mission. He knows that one day, in the medium term, he will die from the diseases that could be caused by nuclear energy. But he wants to die there, taking care of these animals, and he wants everyone to know what happens in Fukushima. Naoto does not drink local water or consume contaminated products, everything is supplied to him from abroad.
A documentary was recently made that shows everything that happened in the place and also the important work that Naoto is developing in the locality, with the purpose of making all continents and ecological and humanitarian organizations interested in the case and that it can be shown all around the world.