Radiation? Bah, Japanese Farmer Won't Budge
Masami Yoshizawa makes a stand after nuke plant disaster
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2014 2:41 PM CST

(Newser) – A farmer is defying evacuation orders around Japan's Fukishima nuclear plant, saying he'll stay in the radioactive wasteland to keep cattle alive—even if it puts his health at risk, the New York Times reports. "These cows are living testimony to the human folly here in Fukushima," said the 59-year-old farmer, Masami Yoshizawa. "The government wants to kill them because it wants to erase what happened here, and lure Japan back to its pre-accident nuclear status quo. I am not going to let them." His stand has been discussed in the national parliament, Radio Australia reports, but so far Yoshizawa's only punishment has been to sign prewritten apologies for having entered the evacuation zone.

His quixotic stand began when he heard animals wailing after the March 2011 nuclear disaster, Al Jazeera reports. "I heard animals crying out," he said. "Wherever I looked were scenes from a living hell." So he gathered cattle from abandoned farms and started feeding them, a pricey endeavor that now forces him to rely on donations of money and feed. Some of the cattle are looking sickly, and Yoshizawa has undergone monitoring at a radiation hospital—but he's fueled by anger at politicians he considers deceptive and citizens he calls "so meek." Killing the cows would be "destroying evidence," he says. "I am a cowboy, and cowboys do not abandon their cows. I will stay with them until I die."