Fukushima Ranch Show Dec to Jan
Shots from the Nuclear Exclusion Zone
In early November I traveled up to the Ranch of Hope in Namie Town, Fukushima. I spent a day feeding cattle, shoveling dung and learning all about the tragedy that hit the town: the carnage the tsunami wrought and the fallout from the nuclear plant collapse. The man who taught me all this was the rancher, Yoshizawa Masami, a brave and loyal man with a cause worth fighting for.
He was forced off his ranch due to the radiation disaster. When he was finally allowed back, he stumbled on suffering of Biblical proportions. 200 of his cattle had died, not from radiation as you might imagine, but from a lack of water. They had returned to the safety of their stalls, waiting for help to come. But it never did. The ranchers were powerless to save their herd from a completely avoidable death.
It is a scene that has left deep scars in his psyche. From that point on, he knew that he had to care for his herd no matter what. He also felt compelled to tell his story, to let the Japanese people know the risks of nuclear power in a country prone to natural disasters. So, he carried on his ranch, to give his herd a dignified life, and for them to act as a living museum, a fish bone in the throat of the government. The Ranch of Hope commemorates the loss and the incompetency that led to it – in the hope we can learn and not make the same mistakes again.