Like several other farmers in Fukushima, Hosokawa ignored a government order to exterminate all of his horses and cows. "I told them that if the animals had been suffering from an infectious disease, then I'd have them destroyed," he said. "But not for something like this."
"Just after the accident one of the horses gave birth. When I saw that foal get to its feet and start feeding from its mother, I knew there was no way I could leave."
The order to evacuate Iitate did not come until weeks after the meltdown, as local authorities debated the risk posed to the village, which had only recently been voted one of Japan's most picturesque places. Rather than acting as a shield, the mountain forests surrounding Iitate had trapped radioactive particles, turning the village into a repository for dangerously high levels of contamination.
Hosokawa, a short, wiry man with the weathered complexion of a man who spends most of his waking hours outside, sent his wife and their daughter, Miwa, to safer parts of the prefecture.
But, unable to bear the thought of leaving his animals to starve, he stayed put and joined the handful of residents who continue to live in the contaminated homes they were ordered to abandon.
Although the evacuation order in parts of Iitate has been partially lifted to allow residents to visit during the day, radiation levels are still too high for a permanent return.
Last week, visiting officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) urged the government to brace displaced residents from Iitate and other contaminated towns and villages for the grim news that cleaning up their former homes will take much longer than expected.
The IAEA report was published soon after Japanese officials admitted that the 5 trillion yen (£31.7bn) decontamination effort was woefully behind schedule. "We will have to extend the cleanup process, by one year, two years or three years. We haven't decided for sure yet," said Shigeyoshi Sato, an environment ministry official in charge of decontamination.
As Iitate's population plummeted in the spring of 2011, Hosokawa managed to find new homes for more than 80 of his horses. Then, in January this year, he noticed that several among the 30 that remained, mainly foals, had become unsteady on their feet.
Within weeks, 16 had died in mysterious circumstances. Autopsies on four of the horses found no evidence of disease and tests revealed caesium levels at 200 becquerels per kilo – four times higher than the government-set safety limit for agricultural produce, but not high enough to immediately threaten their health.
Hosokawa recently began legal action against the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] claiming 200 million yen (£1,269,534) compensation for the loss of the horses he was forced to sell or give away. The animals that died last winter are not included.
Tepco agreed to pay him 10 million yen for the loss of 39 horses he could prove were born on the farm, but refused to compensate him for the rest. The family refuses to back down. "No matter how long it takes," said Miwa, "we will keep on fighting."