Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another anniversary

Today marks a year of the sealing of the 20kilometer zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. A year ago today the remaining animals that were inside were given up on by the authorities.  Not only the cows, horses, pigs and chickens but dogs tied to their houses in the front yard. People's indoor cats watching in windows for their people to come home.The authorities imagined the people would be their usual complacent authority respecting selves, but they were wrong. There was uproar both nationally and internationally.

When Japan gets itself into hot water on an international stage it tends to become more stubborn and resolute that "this is the way things are done here". What the authorities weren't expecting was the uproar they created within the country, and across a broad spectrum of society. From farmers to pet guardians to animal welfare groups, the advice to "leave animals behind you'll be back in a few days" and then subsequent "You cannot retrieve your animals" did not sit at all well. There are a few stalwart farmers holding out refusing to listen to the government order to kill their livestock because they have no monetary value. Matsumura san is caring for dogs cats and neighbour's livestock. (pictures follow)

Another group of livestock farmers defying the order to kill their herds have set up an unsubsidised Farm of hope.
And a lone woman's video appeal to the authorities for her access to her cats

These groups are getting more help and support from the international community than their own government

Some of these links may be old, but unfortunately the problem they deal with is an area that hasn't seen any changes. There is a Japanese proverb that says Kusaimono ni futa wo suru: If it smells, put a lid on it, as in ignore it if it causes discomfort. Thing is, the lid they are trying to cover the problem with is too small.

I was in Tohoku one month ago. I had the good fortune to be there on one of the days when Japan Cat Network were doing their food drops for the animals still inside the restricted 30km area (note I said 30 not the 20). The animals with collars, the animals who were once people's pets. Only residents have access passes here, all other passes are decided upon at the discretion of the local government. Japan Cat Network has a pass, many other well known animal welfare groups do not. In the very short space of time I was there, I saw four roaming dogs, four chained dogs, three loose cats and two tanukis. The animals don't know what is 20km and what is 30km they just know that one day their humans disappeared and they got hungry.   I obviously can't say where the four roaming dogs, and three loose cats, came from originally but it wouldn't be un realistic for the dogs to have wandered 'out of the zone'. The animals the government say are not there, ARE still there, I saw them, and today on the anniversary of their callous government sanctioned fate, I pray for them.
We called her Kia. She watched from afar.

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