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Naoto Matsumura: The Angel of Fukushima

Naoto Matsumura: The Angel of Fukushima

Naoto Matsumura

Naoto Matsumura, The Guardian Angel of Fukushima

The Guardian of the abandoned animals in Fukushima

What this Japanese man is doing in Fukushima may seem crazy to some. Still, it is a big-hearted gesture of love and compassion for the animals left behind for many others.

The 52-year-old farmer Naoto Matsumura returned to the Fukushima radiation zone for the sole purpose of taking care of abandoned animals.

Naoto Matsumura, like all the other residents, was forced to leave the prohibited area with a 20 km radius of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant but moved by a feeling of compassion and solidarity with the animals to ignore the prohibition. He returned to the small-town country where he lived, Tomioka.

Tomioka, once home to 16,000 people, now has Mr. Matsumura as the only inhabitant, in addition to the animals, of course. The city that was once a land considered fertile for planting and raising animals has become a vast deserted area, or a ghost town, like so many others in Fukushima.

Naoto Matsumura
Image (C) Japan Times

Some people think he is crazy, but Naoto Matsumura is aware of radiation’s health risks, which may appear 5, 10 years from now. Still, he does not regret having returned to the Danger Zone to live next to the animals left behind by their owners. Now they live with the neglect of TEPCO and the Japanese government.

At first, his desire was to feed the animals on his farm. Still, soon he found himself surrounded by neighborhood cats and dogs, desperate and hungry. Mr. Matsumura started to provide them too, and it was necessary to leave the forbidden zone to buy food for them.

 Living a Dangerous life

Rustic way, without electricity and drinking water and surviving on canned food and dining by candlelight. In an interview with CNN, he says he is saddened by the authorities’ neglect of his hometown and other affected areas.

I one of his interviews, Mr. Matsumura says that one of the saddest scenes he saw when he returned to Tomioka was that of a cow and her calf. The cow was skin and bone, and when the calf came to suckle, its mother pushed it away. The poor baby, stunned by hunger, crept to a corner of the barn and began to suck on a piece of straw as if it were its mother’s teat.

The next day he found the dead cow and calf. After seeing many scenes similar to this one, Mr. Matsumura decided to grant interviews to foreign correspondents to show his dissatisfaction with the Japanese press that did not cover the sad reality in the radiation zone.

 A Generous heart and the ripples across the world

Thanks to the repercussion that his gesture of love to animals has gained worldwide, Mr. Matsumura has received many donations from all over Japan. These donations are helping him carry on his challenge of caring for abandoned animals.

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Mr. Matsumura is not behind 15 minutes of fame. His mission is to save animals from hunger. For that, he faces radiation 17 times higher than the levels considered normal. Because of his prolonged exposure, Mr. Matsumura was declared the “most radioactive man in the world.”

But Mr. Naoto Matsumura said he does not care about that.  He believes that one day he will have to die anyway, and wants it to happen in his homeland. In addition to taking care of the abandoned animals, Mr. Matsumura is also struggling to accelerate decontamination in the area, which has been happening slowly.

This is one of the most beautiful compassion stories I have ever read, and it certainly deserves to be shared. I invite you to watch these two documentaries produced by Vice Japan about this extraordinary man who has a lot to teach us through this formidable example of love, care, and solidarity.


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