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Fukushima farmer braves nuclear risks to feed stray animals

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Fukushima farmer braves nuclear risks to feed stray animals


One year after Japan’s tsunami and Fukushima disaster, the town of Tomioka is frozen in time.

It was a thriving community for thousands but now Naoto Matsumura, 53, belives he is the only human inhabitant left.

Animals who survived wander wild just a few kilometres from the doomed nuclear plant. Ignoring the exclusion zone, Naoto has stayed to feed them.

“I can’t say it’s 100 percent safe to return here but it’s not a problem for people my age,” he said. “I don’t know how people with small children would feel but I think it is no problem for people my age to return.”

All sorts of creatures, including ostriches, now need this lone farmer in what has become a no-man’s land.

The UN’s nuclear energy chief believes that, following the disaster, atomic power is now safer.

“Fukushima Daiichi was a wake up call,” said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. “People re-evaluated and gave further thought to nuclear safety and they understand now, nuclear safety must come first.”

Ahead of Sunday’s anniversary of the Fukushima tragedy, triggered by a tsunami that left 19,000 people dead or missing, the UN expert is realistic. He says that despite improved safety worldwide, further nuclear accidents can’t be ruled out.

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