|A week after the interview with Mr. Hosokawa, this little|
pony died. "I think that it is to do with the fallout from the
Fukushima disaster," Mr. Hosokawa said.
A terrible silent tragedy is happening in Fukushima! The lone horseman of Iitate speaks out
“I would like to welcome anybody who is concerned to contact me. I request vets and radiation specialists to come and investigate my horses.”
Nuclear News, 7 May 2013
(Abstract) (Translated by Mia)
Iitate village (In Fukushima Prefecture) is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests. And the village and setting still looks beautiful, even after being heavily contaminated by the fallout from the Fukushima disaster.
Mr. Tokuei Hosokawa (60 years old), a third-generation livestock dealer working in the family business, is one of a few who has remained at this village since the disaster.
He has kept quiet about the condition of his horses up until now, but as the condition of his horses has been deteriorating, he has decided to warn others that there is something terribly wrong going on, by making people aware of what has been happening to his horses. He kept a carcass of one of his horse that died a month ago, he said. “I want to bury it, but I preserved it so that I could show it as proof to Tepco”.
“I hear that lots of cows have been dying of hunger in 20k radius of the crippled plant. My horses have been looked after and fed well but four out of thirty two horses are getting very weak, unable to stand up well, with weakness in their knees.”
One of them, a little white pony, has been in the worst condition with its coat in a very poor condition. The vet came to look at the little pony and diagnosed that it developed jaundice with a malfunctioning liver. Also, 14 out of 15 foals died within 1 week to 1 month.
He asked a health care-centre for blood tests for his horses. And there was no evidence of contagious disease or malnutrition found in the test results. He was told that the blood tests were not enough to find out the reasons behind his horses getting weak. He said, “I think that it is to do with the fallout from the Fukushima disaster. I can’t prove it scientifically, but I know it from my many years of experience in working with my horses. “
While he was running his family farm, he was also involved in various volunteering activities using these horses.
Various shrine ritual events such as “Soma Nomaoi”, the most famous traditional war game using horses.He even appeared on some TV period dramas such as ”水戸黄門”, the Tokugawa Shogun Mito Mitsukuni, a historical drama loved by all generations in Japan.
He was also actively involved with local primary school events and also held horse therapy sessions at an educational facility for the blind.
He evacuated with his family out of the village, but couldn’t bare to leave his horses behind, so he returned on his own to look after them.
He has been helping to save other cows and horses owned by other people in the same situation. So far, he saved 87 horses by himself and found a second home for them in different places in Japan.
He asked Tepco for the compensation of the cost of re-housing and caring for these horses but Tepco has rejected his appeals with the reason that there is no proof he looked after them.
He has been rejecting all personal health checks including the radiation “whole body counter”. For him it doesn’t seem to be an important issue to check his health because he has made the decision to stay, for the rest of his life, with these horses.
And although he feels that he is getting to the end of his tether, he still cannot bring himself to kill them. They have been in his family for generations, so he feels honour bound to return to return the help the horses have provided his family. He feels he should show gratitude and give respect to these wonderful creatures for their many years of work by keeping them company until they die, no matter the personal cost.
A week after this interview, as he had guessed, the little white pony had died (at the end of March 2013.)
During the interview Mr. Hosokawa kept saying;
“Japan is in a mad situation! From now on, even more terrible things will happen!”.
A personal plea by Mr. Hosokawa:
*A personal pleas by Mr. Hosokawa:
“I would like to make public about the situation of my horses, my name, address and telephone numbers are below. I would like to welcome anybody who is concerned to contact me. I request vets and radiation specialists to come and investigate my horses.”
123-1, Usui Aza-machi,
Soma-gun, Fukushima prefecture