Stephanie Henkel, Global Animal
After Japan’s massive 2011 earthquake, a devastating nuclear crisis ensued. Cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station failed shortly after the earthquake which led to reactor explosions and partial nuclear meltdowns. More than 200,000 residents were evacuated while tens of thousands of animals were left behind amidst the chaos.
Soon after tragedy struck, Hiroshi Hoshi and his son, Leo Hoshi, sprung into action to help animals in need who were trapped in the Fukushima exclusion zone, the area surrounding the nuclear plant that has been evacuated due to radioactive contamination. The heroic duo founded NGO Hoshi Family Animal Welfare and immediately embarked on their animal rescue mission.
The Hoshis entered the exclusion zone on many occasions under pretenses to gain access. They have saved numerous animal lives and have reunited many beloved pets with their guardians. The father-and-son team gained so much support for their cause, yet not everyone approved of their work.
On January 28, 2013, Hiroshi Hoshi and Leo Hoshi were arrested by police and taken into custody for illegally entering the exclusion zone. They were detained in separate holding facilities and have been jailed ever since.
On February 19, after the investigation, both Hiroshi and Leo were charged with falsifying documents and entering the exclusion zone without authorization. The pair was denied bail, allegedly because of the possibility that they might destroy crucial evidence or flee from authorities.
The Hoshis do not deny the charges, but they deem their actions necessary due to lack of government effort in regard to pet and animal rescue in the exclusion zone. Furthermore, they contest the need to enforce these laws against animal activists who are trying to help victims of the nuclear crisis. Show support and sign the petition to release Hiroshi Hoshi and Leo Hoshi, the Fukushima animal rescuers.