TAMURA, Japan, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Japan's first man in space says he abandoned his farm outside the Fukushima nuclear power plant evacuation zone, fearing radiation could reach that far.
"I used my retirement pay to buy the farmland and build a house," said Toyohiro Akiyama, 69, who as a journalist with Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. flew on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the MIR space station in 1990.
"I feel as though a robber has taken everything from me," he told The Asahi Shimbun Wednesday.
On March 12, the day after Japan's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, Akiyama packed a suitcase and fled his home in Tamura, 19 miles from the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
His home is just beyond the evacuation zone established by the central government, Akiyama said, but he feels he cannot return home.
"I cannot trust the central government's argument that it is therefore safe."
Akiyama, who has written a book about his post-quake experiences, said he's received an offer to teach at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and plans to move to Kyoto prefecture next year.
"But Wakasa Bay is close by," Akiyama said, referring to the region in neighboring Fukui prefecture where several nuclear facilities are located. "In today's Japan, no matter where you go there is always a nuclear plant nearby."