The 42-year-old Kurdish asylum seeker's wife and four children fled back to Turkey more than a year ago, terrified about the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, but he stayed on, in limbo, hoping beyond hope that he would be permitted to remain in Japan.

The man, who was living in Saitama Prefecture and asked that his name be withheld to protect his privacy, is not allowed to work and doesn't qualify for health insurance as the government has rejected his four previous applications for refugee status.

But he also ruled out the option of returning to Turkey to rejoin his family, saying he fears persecution from authorities that allege he is connected to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — which has been branded as a terrorist group by Turkey and other countries, including the United States.