Latest Update & What’s Happening Inside The 20km No-Go Zone – June 8

Mr. Takamura, one of the members of the House of the Representative, has been working on the realization of the so-called ‘Sanctuary Farm’ ever since the idea came out. (yes it’s been nearly a month since he and other politicians proposed to the Kan prime minister not to kill the farm animals but to let them live!).

Althought it’s regretting how slow things proceed in Japan, there are indeed people still working very hard. It looks like an official response by the government to the request Mr. Takamura and his colleagues proposed to create a sanctuary farm will be announced within coming 2 weeks.

In the meantime, I notice the issues of pets and farm animals left behind inside the nuclear no-go zone have Not been taken up as much as before by the media lately, but as always volunteers and NPOs are busy taking care of rescued animals, locating their owners or looking for new owners and rescuing more animals.

Some people may be wondering what’s happening to the pets and farm animals still left alone inside the 20km nuclear no-go zone in Fukushima while the government is busy working on whatever. Although it’s officially illegal to go inside the zone after April 23, there are farmers who were granted permits by the local government to feed their animals. There are indeed NPOs and individuals who sneak inside the zone to rescue dogs and cats. I myself found 3 groups of volunteers posting stories and photos of rescued dogs and cats on their blogs.

At any rate, I would like to post below a translated daily ‘article’ by Mr. Takamura, the good politician from his website. On June 6, he entered the 20km no-go zone in Minami Soma-city to investigate the situation first-hand with some officials.

In the morning, I particiated in the meeting with city officials. The mayor said ‘We strongly request to speed-up the pace of temporary return by the evacuees to their homes inside the 20km zone. There are residents who are saddened by the death of their pets. We really have to get insde the zone soon’. Animal lives do not wait. The mayor knows it well. I promised him that I would see him in Tokyo, and we entered the no-go zone.

On the way, I visited one of the barns I used to pass by but never really went in. There were many fine-looking pigs. Inside the milk cow barn, there was a terrible scene. Although I anticipated, it was like a nightmare where stinging smell, pigs noises and crows were everywhere…

Fine-looking roaming pigs

Pigs inside the barn where bones are scattered here and there

People I was with said, when they saw this inside the barn their spines froze. I have seen this many times before and felt it with my five senses. Every time when I see lively pigs and bones scattered around them, I feel guilty as a human, to have created such situation. Moreover, temperature will rise more and more and the hygine will worsen. I just can’t stand the thought when I imagine farmers who would be terribly shocked to see this. I feel bad that this condition will not give them a sense for reconstructing but it would rather give a sense for giving-up and anger.

As for the cows that were set free by the farmers, they have been feeding themselves with grass. However, once they lost their weight, apparently they can’t gain back their weight. But they were all living. Fortunately, there are plenty of feed and I assume they’ve been drinking water from the stream. There waw a lot of grass around. As long as they go over this without giving up, they will be living in a ‘Farm of Hope(this is probably the name of the sanctuary that is to be developed)’. After visiting Minami-soma City, we went on to Taruba-cho via Namie-cho, Futaba-cho, Ookuma-cho and Tomioka-cho.At the ‘Shiba inu street’ in Ookuma-cho

Cows that escaped from the barn. They were busy mooing.

A cow who is in a critical condition, although he's been fed

 We at least saw 15 Shiba Inu in Ookuma-cho. This is the street where city officials are feeding dogs. They were all doing fine and came close to us.

At the 'Shiba inu street' in Ookuma-cho

At a ostrich farm in Ookuma-cho

According to the owner of the ostrich farm, a few of ostrich were dead while 14 were doing fine running around. They have to be transported to where enough feed is available, alive.

A dog without one front leg

There were five dogs roaming together. Two of them were injured from traps that were meant for wild animals, but they were helping each other or something, they didn’t seem to be weary of us and came close to us.

We headed to Taruba-cho, and visited a cow barn which story appeared in newspaper.

This is the milk-cow barn in Taruba-cho. Seventy skinny cows are still alive. There were also cattles. The barn was tidy and we could see a trace of different feed being given recently. It brought tears into my eyes when I imagined the affection of the owners who have been suffering but doing their best to take care of these cow in this terrible situation.
Now, who (which NPO) placed these posters on the entrance door of the barn? (the posters read ‘Please help the animals’). The barn owner probably wants to scream that he very much wishes to do so. How much he’s been suffering, frustrated and feeling miserable… He himself knows that these animals need to be rescued. When I saw these posters, I became really angry. I later heard that some individuals or NPO opened up the door to the cow barn forcefully without permissions. Twenty cows died when they walked out of the barn and got trapped in the mud, which story also ran in the media. People who believed in their selfish thought didn’t save the lives of the cows, but rather put salt in open wounds. (the cows were properly cared by the owner) They should refrain from doing such actions.

'(we are) Managing them. Please do not feed.'

Please do not insult farmers’ pride anymore.
After we left the barn, we headed to the field ‘Ottojiro’ located between the mountains that used to be managed by the city before. The area was about 20ha and because it’s in the mountainous area, it looked difficult to manage. But there should be more areas where animals can be kept. There should be more.
As we were leaving, we heard some dogs barking. And we discovered a sanctuary. There was also a man. He’s the owner of the house here and wasn’t even wearing protective suits (from radiation). He’s moved here since 10 years ago and has been living together with his animals even after the nuclear accident. Many lives, 18 dogs, 1 goat and 450 birds including chickens were living here.

A puppy 'Atom' was born just before the nuclear accident

A puppy 'Uran' was also born just before the nuclear accident

Atom and Uran

Newly-born goose babies

Apparently, this area is just outside the 20km no-go zone. Mr. Sakamoto was given a special permit by the town official. ‘In the last 2 months, the whole town voluntarily evacuated from here and I was shut out of information and goods/food. Many animal lives perished during the time and although I now receive goods from one NPO, gas appears to run out soon. I don’t mind if I can’t take a bath, but it’ll be very tough if I can’t prepare food for the animals.

Mr. Sakamoto and his permit for entering the area

The permit also tells him which road he should use

I think this is the true sanctuary. I met someone who protects the lives of those that are still alive as they were… When we explained him of our plan(to establish a sanctuary farm), he simply said ‘That’s a normal thing to do’. That’s right, this is a normal thing to do. We can’t hesitate it when we want to do something natural and normal. I was given courage and hope from meeting a person like him. Thank you very much.
Nearby, roaming cows were seeing us off.

Fine-looking cows, eating grass, in Taruba-cho

 According to Taruba-cho, there are still nearly 400 Japanese cows roaming freely in the area.
After this, another great encounter was waiting for us.
(to be continued)

6 responses to “Latest Update & What’s Happening Inside The 20km No-Go Zone – June 8

  1. Hi,
    I love to read your blog which is very informative. I am just wondering how the Dog That Protected His House & Farm Animals is doing. I would like to see him fully recovered. Thanks.

  2. Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for your comment, much appreciated. 🙂
    Yes, the story about the dog, Gonta… It will be updated tomorrow surely.
    Thanks again for visiting my blog!

  3. It’s totally unbelievable how the Japanese government can be so heartless. I joined Facebook right after the Earthquake and tsunami so I could keep up with rescue efforts of both people and animals. I must say I am totally outraged that the human/animal bond is unrecognized by the Japanese government, and now many evacuees are suffering from depression, anxiety and worsening PTSD symptoms due to finding their animals dead or being told by their loved ones that their pets died. I hope Kan and any government members against saving animals are haunted by the sounds and visions of the dead, both animal and animal-loving human, when they go to the affected areas. Am I “placing a curse” on these officials? No. I’m just hoping if they are really human that their conscience will get the better of them!

  4. Totally, the Japanese government is really useless and hopeless! I mean, not only about helping animals but they are slow in many areas. Leadership and responsibility are what’s missing. There are many people who lost their jobs, houses and family members due to the disaster, but the government is so slow to come up with concrete plans on how to reconstruct the area and the country. Many ordinary people especially in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate are outraged. I’m really sorry to say but Japan looks like it’s going down in many aspects and I really don’t want that…

  5. No, me neither. After seeing so much footage of the tsunami and what those poor people went through, I want to see them come back revitalized and stronger than before. I recently saw a report on NHK World Today’s Close Up on Ishinomaki City area fishermen talking of forming a co-op to start the fishing industry back up in steps because so much of the industry was destroyed in the tsunami. I hope they can get it started up, but now is the mess at Fukushima Daiichi going to ruin the chances of that too if radiation gets in the ocean? Or continues to spread in the air. I’m concerned about what happens to Cat Island too, considering fishing was the economy-maker there too (and I am a big cat lover).

  6. And seeing NHK and reading newspaper reports I see people from those 3 prefectures giving holy hell to the government and understand perfectly why they are. When PM Kan and the head of TEPCO went to the shelters to talk to people, NHK didn’t censor anybody who gave either a piece of their mind and some of the reporters discussed the uncomfortable closeness of the nuclear industry and the government and the conflict of interest. I saw a report where somewhere the townspeople made TEPCO people kneel and put their heads to the ground while they were berated, but don’t remember where exactly that was.

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