OAP forced off remote island after 30 years returns following modern world time

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An old age pensioner who lived for almost 30 years on a remote island but was forced to return to civilisation by authorities has now went back to his bolthole after struggling to cope with the modern world.

Masafumi Nagasaki, 86, lived on the Island of Sotobanari, Yaeyama Islands, for 29 years, but was forced back to civilisation in 2018 by the Japanese government, making him anxious and unhappy.

Now, he has been allowed to return to his home on the island which is vegetated, but has no running water.

He "broke down in tears of gratitude" when he found out the news.

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Masafumi always said he wished to die on the island. Now, he can once again shed his clothes and live his preferred hermit lifestyle.

Alvaro Cerezo, 41, a Spanish explorer, found Masafumi while searching for remote islands, and later fought for his right to return with Japanese authorities.

"He had been struggling so much in civilisation, when we finally managed to get him moved back, it was amazing," said Mr Cerezo.

"We had meetings for about three weeks with his doctors and the local authorities, and they eventually agreed to let us take him back.

"Obviously they were against letting him die on the island. As soon as we told him the plan, he jumped with joy and broke down in tears of gratitude.

"His face lit up like an excited little kid when he learnt he was getting to go back. During the ride he often looked up, smiling at the sky and thanked life with folded hands.

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"As soon as we landed on the island, he began cheering and celebrating."

Mr Cerezo first discovered Masafumi when he was exploring the region for deserted islands for his company, Docastaway, which abandons brave holidaymakers on far-flung desert islands to survive completely alone for days or weeks at a time.

He said: "I spent a few days on the island with him back in 2014, getting to know him and his lifestyle.

"At the time I didn't share the interview we recorded out of respect for his privacy.

"It was only in 2018 I shared it after discovering he'd been forced to leave the island, to share his story and try and garner support.

"He had always said he wanted to die on the island, so hearing he had been forced to leave was very difficult."

Masafumi struggled to adapt to life in civilisation after being used to fend for himself.

"In a quintessential society like that of the Japanese, there was hardly anyone who could either understand his eccentric way of life or his extreme desire to live naked on a desert island," said Cerezo.

"As a result, most people in his neighbourhood looked at him with contempt and a little bit of fear."


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