Mr. Matjushkov and Mr. Tada

Photo | March 5, 2012

(LEFT) Michael Matjushkov (age 61) has throat cancer. After the Chernobyl accident, he worked in the contaminated zone as a driver and electrician, removing wires from the evacuated area.

(RIGHT) According to Mr. Hiroshi Tada, the keeper of a 900-year-old shrine in Iitate, his village is over 2,000 years old. Iitate is located more than 40 kilometres from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Even though it lies outside the 20 kilometre exclusion zone, it is still dangerously contaminated. “The accident has destroyed our community, its population scattered across the region,” he says. The people of Iitate and surrounding villages have all left, including Mr. Tada’s family, leaving him behind to continue his religious duties and help any others who stayed.