This is truly a heartbreaking story - a 52-year-old man who lives in the shadow of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is struggling – all alone – to help the animals left behind after the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster.
CNN reported in January that Naoto Matsumura, a life-long resident and fifth generation farmer, has refused to heed the mandatory evacuation since the nuclear meltdown.
The government evacuated 78,000 residents around the exploding plant without a plan to rescue pets and livestock.
As Matsumura began to feed his own animals, the neighborhood'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.
CNN describes one of the worst scenes Matsumura encountered. It happened at a neighbor's farm. “He found a cow and her calf alive. The cow was so thin from hunger it was just skin and bones, says Matsumura. The calf was crying, trying to approach its mother for milk. The mother kicked the calf, perhaps afraid of death, if it fed the calf, Matsumura recalled. The calf kept trying to approach for milk, but the mother kept kicking it away. The calf, dazed and hungry, stumbled away. It crawled into a corner, crying. The calf was sucking on straw as if it were the mother's teat. He went back the next day and found the cow and her calf dead."
Seeing this made him furious and he started doing interviews with foreign correspondents.
Matsumura has been tested for radiation and said his body is "completely contaminated." But he said he will die in his hometown.