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Rescuers Defy Authorities at Nuclear Plant

Japanese family calls themselves animal rescue guerrillas

The Hoshi family on one of their rescue raids at the dead zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant

Hiroshi Hoshi doesn’t care what the Japanese government says about staying away from the Fukushima Daiich nuclear plant. He keeps going back to the radioactive zone … to rescue animals.

That means dodging roadblocks and police patrols.

Hoshi and his team of family members are less well-known than some of the other humane groups that have been working to save animals since the earthquake and tsunami back in March. But you can find them on their website and on Facebook.

Recently, while monitoring video from a camera that’s trained on the nuclear plant, they noticed two dogs prowling around.

“We knew those dogs would die eventually if they were left alone,” Mr Hoshi said. “I thought, if we can get there and possibly save them, why not?”

Wearing protective suits, his group evaded police roadblocks as they drove to the plant, where they quickly found the dogs, whisked them into their car and got them back to safety.

“When we got them, they weren’t even able to urinate or eat any kind of hard food,” Hoshi said. “So we called up an emergency medical centre and they checked and treated them and then we took them to our home.”

The dogs had been exposed to significant amounts of radiation, but they were given a clean bill of health. Mr Hoshi believes their owner left them a lot of food when they evacuated and that might have kept them alive and indoors, away from the fallout, until the food ran out.

Happy endings are, unfortunately, not the usual outcome for the tens or hundreds of thousands of animals abandoned in the dead zone around the Fukushima plant.

This Hoshi family and supports with the two dogs they saw on video

Mr Hoshi has no background in animal rescue. “We were talking about this as a family after we saw news reports about it,” he said. “My son, Leo, said: ‘I can’t ignore this – I’ve got to go feed them.’ So Leo and my wife and I, decided to go together.”

Since April, the Hoshi family and their supporters have made a series of raids into the radioactive zone, plucking dogs and cats to safety.

They say they are angry at the lack of action by the government. And Hoshi himself has challenged police to arrest him so he can draw more attention to his concerns in court.

What you can do: Support the Hachiko Coalition at their website and on Facebook.