Nearly three years after Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster displaced thousands in the surrounding region, a single farmer has crossed back into the evacuation zone, risking radiation for the sake of hundreds of cows left abandoned.
Defying government orders to keep out, Masami Yoshizawa is back on his farm in the shadow of the failed nuclear power plant caring for his and other ranchers' cattle in protest of Japan's plan to slaughter them. After the March 2011 disaster, hundreds of animals were left to fend for themselves on vacant, radioactive ranches; the Ministry of Agriculture has called them "walking accident debris," ordering them to all be killed.
For Yoshizawa, who renamed his farm Ranch of Hope, the abandoned animals are more than just debris to be discarded.
"These cows are living testimony to the human folly here in Fukushima," says Yoshizawa, in an interview with the New York Times. "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."