It isn't only humans that are suffering in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Scores of feral animals are eking out a precarious existence in the surrounding areas, including cats and dogs that were once somebody's pets.
Left behind in the chaotic exodus, many pets are still unable to join their owners in temporary housing, while others have simply been abandoned. The luckiest animals get occasional visits if and when their owners can find the time and the means to visit their former homes, but most rely on the goodwill of volunteers or have to fend for themselves. Those that are hardy enough to survive the harsh Tohoku winters do what comes naturally and breed, resulting in a sharp rise in feral cats and dogs in the region.
More often than not, the media chooses to focus on feel-good stories about the efforts of volunteer groups to reunite pets with their owners, or to secure loving new homes. However, Hiro Yamasaki of the Animal Rescue System Fund (ARSF) wants the public to realize that there are other sides of the story to consider, too.