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» Manager of training farm in Itate village in deep sadness

<A story of Mr. Ito who is a manager of training farm in Iitate called “Iitate farm”>

A 70-year-old man who after retiring took up farming in a village in Fukushima Prefecture is in no mood to forgive Tokyo Electric Power Co. for the damage caused by the disaster at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“My grudge against Tepco is beyond control,” Nobuyoshi Ito said.

Ito got divorced after retiring from an information technology company and then fell into depression caused by the fatigue he endured in nursing his mother, even occasionally thinking of killing himself.

But he found a ray of light in May 2009 when he unexpectedly received an offer to manage an agricultural training center that the IT company planned to build in the village of Iitate.

“It was the most enjoyable year I ever had in my then 66 years of life, though the work was grueling,” he recalled.

Ito, who calls himself an “apprentice farmer,” then decided to increase the area of the leased paddy field by 4 hectares to step up production of rice and honey for the second year.

But his life of contentment was suddenly shattered by the nuclear crisis caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

A massive amount of radioactive substances from the No. 2 reactor, released when it suffered an explosion four days after the initial disaster, was carried the roughly 40 km to Iitate on the wind.

Ito said he “lost everything” just as he was getting on top of his new work.

He has since been taking measurements of the radioactive contamination of the village’s land and produce.

The contamination of mushrooms remains extremely high, reaching up to 3,032 becquerels of cesium per kilogram for “matsutake” and 98,839 becquerels for shiitake last year, compared with a government-set limit of 100 becquerels for regular food items.

Unfortunately, the current compensation program covers only economic losses and thus does not apply to mushrooms taken from the woods.

Ito sent a package of contaminated matsutake mushrooms, with a bill for ¥200,000, to the Tepco chairman in autumn 2012.

“Tepco should understand the value of the blessing of the woods and the feeling of villagers who cannot eat the matsutake that they have in front of them,” Ito said.
<Media Report>

Farmer’s Tepco grudge runs deep
Retiree found new life on the land until nuke crisis took toll (Japan Times)


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