Holdout Refuses to Leave Japan's Nuclear Zone
*Extract from EX-SKF-JP (BBC interview)
Tomioka lies just inside the 20km off-limits area. The shops of the main street are deserted, motorbikes and cars are abandoned, and weeds push through gaps in the concrete. The community of 16,000 is now reduced to the eerie status of a ghost town after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. The worst of the contamination was blown northwest of Fukushima, while Tomioka lies to the south.
A local farmer, Naoto Matsumura, (52), is the only one who is still living in Tomioka. Although he was part of the initial exodus after the accident, he could not bear life in a refugee centre, and soon moved back to his farm, refusing orders to leave. Tomioka.
He has been criticized for ignoring the order to leave. Why? He suffers as one of the victims, and it is wrong to treat him like criminal.
The life lines of electricity and water are cut. His neighbor donated gasoline for his car. He has stored rice and canned food. He uses firewood for the bath and lights candles in the evening.
Since he moved back, he takes care of animals in Tomioka. There are many dogs and cats, 400 head of cattle, and some ostrich.
The fate of the livestock is one immediate challenge. Dozens of cattle broke free after the evacuation and now roam wild. Pigs and farmed boar also escaped, and are living a feral existence. But others remained trapped - their owners fled in too much of a hurry to release them - and they have since starved to death. Mr Matsumura believes the authorities have failed the people of the area.
He has appealed to the public in anger “nothing made by humans is perfect. It is illusion that nuclear energy is dream energy”.
This is AP’s interview with Mr.Matsumura. (August 31, 2011)