Roaming, Radioactive Boars Slow Return of Japan's Nuclear Refugees

Fukushima Daiichi 6 Years On

Hundreds of aggressive, and potentially radioactive, wild boars have prompted public safety concerns in Japan, according to news reports, as homeowners prepare to return to towns near Fukushima, where a 2011 natural disaster and tsunami triggered a meltdown at a nuclear power plant in the region.

Now they roam the empty streets and overgrown backyards of Japan's deserted seaside town of Namie, foraging for food. Those who are planning to return home are now anxious about the wild boars, and residents voiced their concerns about the animals at town meetings earlier this year, Reuters reported.

"After people left, their ecosystem changed", said local hunter Shoichi Sakamoto.

"They found a place that's comfortable - there's plenty of food and no one will come after them".

The boars have been destroying local farms and eating plants contaminated with radiation. "This is their new home now and this where they have children".

"It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars", Tamotsu Baba, mayor of Namie, told Reuters.

Hunter Shoichiro Sakamoto from nearby town Tomioka is doing his part to clear the area of the wild boars that are posing a danger to potential residents. Since April 2016, the hunters have captured an estimated 300 boars.

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A 15m tsunami caused by the magnitude nine quake that struck off the coast of Japan on 11 March 2011 disabled the station's power supply and coolers, causing all three nuclear reactors to go into meltdown.

NAMIE, Fukushima Beyond radiation risks, an unexpected nuisance looms for Japanese returning to towns vacated after the Fukushima nuclear crisis six years ago - wild boars.

Because of this, many people from Fukushima moved out.

"The work to probe inside the containment vessels and remove the fuel debris will be extremely tough because of the high radiation levels", said Hiroshi Miyano, who heads a panel of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, which is discussing ways to decommission the Fukushima plant and making recommendations to the government.

Radioactive wild boars are running amok near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant on the eastern coast of Japan.

It was the most powerful quake ever recorded in the country, generating waves up to 40m high that travelled miles in land, destroying everything in their path.

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