Naoto Matsumura remains inside the exclusion zone, without electricity and running water and braving the loneliness and the constant threat of exposure to elevated levels of radiation
By Glen Milner, The UK Telegraph, Video Journalist, 06 Mar 2012
Tomioka, where Mr Matsumura still resides, is just eight miles from Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant – well within the 13-mile exclusion zone – and the other residents have long since fled.
"I was working when the earthquake hit and we heard on the radio that a tsunami was on its way, so I waited a while before trying to get home," said Mr Matsumura, who used to operate road-laying machinery.
"The next day, I heard the explosion at the plant," he said. "I didn't need anyone to tell me what had happened because the 'boom' was huge." Living with his mother and father and a couple of locals in the house, they heard more explosions. Finally, they decided to head south. "I knocked on the door of my aunt's house in Iwaki, but she wouldn't let any of us in because she said we were contaminated.
"So we went to a nearby shelter, but they wouldn't let us stay there either, so we went home," he says. In April, Mr Matsumura's mother was taken ill so the rest of the family went to stay with relatives outside the original 18-mile recommended exclusion zone.
"We couldn't take the animals with us, so I stayed behind," he says.
After a year, Mr Matsumura, 52, appears to prefer the company of his animals to humans."I don't get bored," he says. "I am used to it, and anyway, there are lots of animals here so I'm never really alone."
Vicki Shigekuni Wong
I first spotted Hachiko's statue many years ago at Shibuya Station. Upon returning home, I adopted a dog and named him Hachi. When he passed away, I missed his reflective, welcoming and calm ways. We can all learn from the innate emotional grace of our animal friends and the Way of Hachi. I love sharing the story of the loyal dog of Japan, and hope he inspires more people to "Be Hachi"!