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Japanese residents hold out against nuclear e -

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A handful of residents from the Japanese town of Naraha are refusing to leave their homes despite
being in the nuclear no-go zone around the crippled Fukushima power plant. The ABC's North Asia
correspondent Mark Willacy travelled into the contamination zone to meet with one of the so-called
hold-outs.

ASHLEY HALL: They're known as the nuclear hold-outs - Japanese residents refusing to leave their
homes, even though they're in the contaminated no-go zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear
power plant.

In one town, Naraha, just 20 kilometres from the plant only four residents remain out of an
original population of 8,000.

Despite worries about radiation and all efforts to get them out, the hold-outs are refusing to
budge.

Armed with his clicking Geiger counter, the ABC's North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy travelled
into the nuclear no-go zone to visit one of these hold-outs.

He filed this report from inside Naraha.

MARK WILLACY: We're on the road in Naraha and it is less than 20 kilometres from the oozing
reactors of the Fukushima nuclear plant in the so-called no entry zone.

I'm told this town of 8,000 people is now largely empty except for just four residents who are
refusing orders to leave.

Taking me into Naraha today is Sanae Yamauchi, a town councillor, who has been coming into the
no-entry zone for months to visit these so-called nuclear hold-outs.

(Sanae Yamauchi speaking Japanese)

SANAE YAMAUCHI (translated): The first thing I think when I come here, when I see the view, I
wonder if I can ever return. This place is contaminated and I'm very worried about the children.
Unless we decontaminate the area, I don't think the children can come back.

(Man speaking Japanese on loudspeaker)

MARK WILLACY: Well, we've just passed the checkpoint into the no-entry zone. Security is reasonably
tight there, as you'd imagine. Only people with a pass like Mr Yamauchi are allowed in here. So we
are officially now in the no-go zone.

(Geiger counter beeps and clicks, dogs bark)

I am at Kago Sakamoto's farm. He is one of the four in Naraha who is refusing to leave. He is on
the outskirts of town and as you can hear he has got quite a few dogs - 21 he tells me in total.

As well as the dogs he has got goats, chickens and rabbits and he says he just doesn't want to
leave because of his animals, although he does admit he is a bit worried about his long term health
prospects.

(Kago Sakamoto speaking Japanese)

KAGO SAKAMOTO (translated): Of course I am worried about my health but I haven't found an
alternative option because I need a place, if I am going to move, where I can take all these
animals and that has this much nature. I've put everything in this so I can't just leave.

(Geiger counter twitters)

MARK WILLACY: Well, I'm standing in the centre of Naraha now. There is just absolutely no one here.

I am outside the biggest supermarket in the town and it is all boarded up. There is weeds growing
out the front.

On my way in we saw a car that has been completely overgrown with vines. We saw animals running
loose - cows, also some cats that have gone feral - and for my guide Sanae Yamauchi, trying to get
Mr Sakamoto and the three other hold-outs is a bit of a fruitless task. But he still comes here
regularly to check on them.

SANAE YAMAUCHI (translated): The local government is working hard right now preparing for people to
be able to come back home, but personally I think we won't be able to come back for at least five
years.

MARK WILLACY: It's time to leave so we are driving back out of Naraha through its deserted streets
and past its empty houses.

The big question now is, will Naraha ever be repopulated? Will its residents ever be allowed to
return? Because the Japanese government has signalled that some communities, possibly Naraha, won't
be habitable for decades.

(Geiger counter clicking)

This is Mark Willacy reporting for AM on the drive out of Naraha.