Spiritual Insurrection

St. Francis of Fukushima

We haven't learned anything yet!

Naoto Matsumura’s body is completely contaminated with radioactive cesium. A year after the Tohoku earthquake, and the subsequent nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima, the 52-year-old farmer is the final holdout in Japan’s government-mandated 20-kilometre nuclear exclusion zone.

He says he’s full of rage. He says he refuses to let go of hunger and grief. He says he wants to die in his hometown. Matsumura, and the surviving animals he tends to, have very little access to water, and no electricity. He scavenges leftover coal and rations gas for energy; he survives off tinned food sourced from outside the evacuation zone.

In 2006, the UN marked the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster with calls of “never again.” International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei pledged to remember the Chernobyl accident by “renew[ing] our determination to ensure that such a tragedy will not happen again.”

The Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdown is one of only two nuclear accidents classified as a Level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale – the 1986 Chernobyl disaster is the other. Since 1950, there have been 99 accidents at nuclear plants around the world; 57 of them occurred after Chernobyl.

“It’s my responsibility to stay … and it is my right to be here,” Matsumura has said, standing in front of the rice paddy that used to be the source of his livelihood. “We haven’t learned our lesson yet.”

Though staying means that his risk of developing cancer increases exponentially, Matsumura is determined to remain in Fukushima to take care of animals that were left behind – pets and livestock alike. “People get sick when they get old anyway,” Matsumura said in a March 2012 UK Telegraph video, smoking a cigarette and looking on as an ostrich drank from a bucket on his farm.

So far, Matsumura says, the government has done nothing. (Media footage shows some contaminated soil under a series of blue tarps; other news video underscores the police-guarded perimeter around the exclusion zone.) St. Francis of Fukushima, Matsumura will stay with the cows, dogs, and ostriches, demanding that the government decontaminates the area.

andrea bennett is an Associate Editor at Adbusters.

Comments on the article “St. Francis of Fukushima”

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I understand why he wants to stay. He did not do anything wrong. Some things you aren't expected to get over.


Fukushima is a level 7 because that's the highest on the scale.

It's more like 3 or 4 Chernobyls put together. So A level 21 i guess.


I too understand why he wants to stay. I wish he had better access to AT LEAST clean water. I understand why he is angry too.
It seems like the government of Japan just thinks that as long as they keep people out of the 'contaminated' area, that the problem will just go away.


Naoto will die from old age or other medical reasons before the cesium dose gets to him (at the age of 140).... It is irresponsible for a magazine such as Adbusters to make statements like this or publish articles regarding the human body and radiation dose without first consulting a Certified Health Physicist who specializes in eiter Internal or External Dosimetry.


That's pure crap. You don't need large doses of radionuclides to die, just enough to cause a disease like cancer, that can kill you. A health physicist can be someone with a BS in engineering, not even qualified in the areas of biology, chemistry or medicine. Physicists in general know nothing about the human body or chemistry. Health physicists are usually employed by the nuclear industry to downplay the risks of radionuclide exposure. Take your right wing trolling somewhere where people don't know you're an abject fool.


I am glad to see the concern for this poor man and the threat that he faces from the leakage of radiation. But it seems like a banging on an empty can or metal cooking pot...We have this situation in Japan that has been caused by a failure to comprehend the inherent dangers of a nuclear power plant even in the absence of an earth quake...And yet we have a situation of radiation threat in Iraq and Afghanistan that is purely intentional!! I am referring to the use of uranium tipped munitions by the USA and the UK. It should be noted foremost that these "dirty" radioactive munitions DID NOT have to be used!!! The choice to use them shows total disregard to human life and constitutes a GENOCIDAL WAR CRIME against the civilian people of Iraq and Afghanistan. These munitions create a radioactive vaporized dust that is easily dispersed in the air. It can settle in soil, the ground/drinking water, the crops, livestock and ingested or breath in by people. If you breath in this dust it can then lodge in your lungs or pass on into your blood stream. The US government is well aware of this danger after reports of exposure around a now closed weapon manufacturing plant near Albany, New York. The particles are so small that they can even pass through the filter of a gas mask. I would point out that the evil disregard toward human life was not limited to just the Iraqi and Afghan people. It was also extended to the replaceable soldiers who were sent to do their masters' dirty work. The half life of this "depleted uranium" is over 4 billion years. I believe that may be impossible for us to comprehend. Lets just say that for next hundred plus years, millions of people will suffer and die from the cancer that this radiation will cause. So if we are going to beat a drum, a can, or a pot, let it be to call for the prosecution of these true " EVIL DOERS"! We are greater than they are! We can shut down our respective countries and demand that they are prosecuted in the International World Court! Let the soldiers know that they have been betrayed by these leaders and the body bag pay they are given. I regret to say that President Obama is now in this group of Evil Doers. He could of stopped the wars or at least the use of "dirty" munitions. He has not and has added to the tons of radiation dropped in these two countries. IN the US, as well as other countries, the government tries to induce fear in the population by saying that the population faces the treat of terrorist setting off a "dirty bomb". They do this to frighten the population ("the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself") and use that as an excuse to take away your freedoms and create a "police state" for your protection. When all along, the real terrorist are the ones who wage illegal wars of aggression and use "dirty bomb" munitions on civilians. It is the highest form of eco-terroism! By poisoning the land, water, and the air, you effectively poison a nation. So what are you going to do about it? I say its time to clean house and make the guilty pay.

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