Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Japanese National Government, Fukushima Prefectural Government, Industry Groups Plan for Lifting the Shipment Ban on Fukushima Beef

The shipment ban on meat cows in Fukushima was finally put in place on July 19, but on July 20 they already outlined the conditions for lifting the ban.

Fukushima Prefecture hopes to lift the shipment ban placed on the cows in the prefecture by the end of July, according to Fukushima Minyu Shinbun (7/21/2011), a local paper in Fukushima Prefecture.

From what Fukushima Minyu Shinbun describes, the conditions for lifting the ban have been already agreed upon between the parties involved (the national government, the Fukushima prefectural government, and the cattle industry groups).

So what is the plan? Fukushima Minyu is rather vague on that, so we'll go to Asahi Shinbun that has a bit more details. The plan, as it is right now, will serve to obfuscate, give sense of "security" where there's hardly any, and most of all, doesn't cost much because they won't be doing things much differently from what they are doing right now. All parties involved - the national government, the Fukushima prefectural government, the industry groups - are eager to resume shipment, so it will resume as soon as people forget about it. (And stuff those blogs with safety message about cesium!)

Asahi Shinbun (12:33AM JST 7/21/2011):


The Headquarters for the Nuclear Disaster Countermeasures (headed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan) ordered the governor of Fukushima Prefecture to halt shipment of meat cows in all areas of Fukushima. At the same time, the procedure by which the shipment ban would be lifted was also announced. First, Fukushima Prefecture would submit the management plan for the meat cows to the Headquarters, which would approve the submitted plan. Then the each cattle farm would undergo the testing as specified in the plan, and the cows would be shipped.


The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare disclosed the outline of the management plan as contemplated by the Headquarters and Fukushima Prefecture. In the planned evacuation zone and the emergency evacuation-ready zone where the high levels of radioactive materials have been detected, the prefectural government will conduct testing on all cows after they are processed into meat.


In other areas, all cattle farmers will be surveyed to make sure if the contaminated rice hay is not used, among other things. The survey will be repeated every 2 months. After the shipment ban is lifted, at least one cow will be selected from one cattle farm, and the prefectural government will test the meat for radioactive materials [cesium]. If the amount of radioactive materials is less than the provisional safety limit, all the meat cows at that particular cattle farm will be allowed to be shipped for a time. The farm will be allowed to ship outside Fukushima Prefecture. After a certain period of time, at least one cow from the farm will be tested again.


Fukushima Prefecture has only one meat processing facility in Koriyama City. However, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare thinks it is possible for this facility to process and test the meat, as it has the capacity to process maximum 9,000 cows per year.


The meat cows have been found outside Fukushima Prefecture that were fed with contaminated rice hay. However, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare would only consider the shipment ban if the rice hay in the region where the cows are raised is contaminated. Even if cattle farms in a particular region use contaminated rice hay purchased from distant locations [like Miyagi Prefecture], as long as the rice hay in that region is not contaminated the cows would not be considered for the shipment ban.

Well, needless to say, the "health, labor and welfare" that the Ministry worries about is not of the rest of the Japanese who are not in the cattle business.

Koriyama City, where the rice hay was found to contain 500,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, or Motomiya City, where the rice hay was found with 690,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, are OUTSIDE ANY evacuation zone.

On reading the article, I have little doubt that the radioactive beef will be sold just as it has been sold, without much added control at all. There will be less recourse to the consumers, because the beef will be considered "safe" because it will be sold in the marketplace after "vigorous test" approved by the national government and conducted by the Fukushima government.

Next to come? Maybe fine consumers for refusing to eat Fukushima produce, be it beef or vegetables.



it's like japan doesn't even care that it's become a radiation society.


Anonymous said...

Sweeping all the problems under the rug again as usual.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

It is like someone commented earlier Japan was sure and swift to block any possibility of BSE (mad cow disease) entering the food supply from the US (or domestic supply). The US offered the same "test one cow out of the herd" plan to prove the rest were clean but Japan (rightly) balked at the plan. Japan tested millions domestic cows just to root out 4 infected cows.

"On October 18, 2001, the Japanese government announced that a dairy cow had been discovered
with mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE). It was the first time the disease had turned up in Japan. A second case was announced in November 2001. Ultimately four cows were found with the disease after a million cows were tested."

"A ban on the import of American beef was imposed in December 2003 after the first case BSE was found in the United States. Japan wanted the United States to check all beef coming into Japan for BSE, an effort that could cost the United States millions a year. Beagles were introduced at Narita airport outside Tokyo to sniff out banned meat products."

"As it stands now the imports of cattle over 20 months from the United States is banned. In April 2010, the Obama administration reopened negotiations on American beef with the aim of getting Japan to agree to allow the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months old. The Hatoyama government was not expected to budge much on the issue as it had adopted ensuring food safety as one of its key campaign promises."

Anonymous said...

Is that really the case? Surely having just had one scare where the consumers have reacted on mass is enough to make them consider the financial damage of any further scares? What about the export image for Japan if it can't show it has a strong food safety policy that is enforced? What about tourism where people will refuse to visit because they don't know what they are eating in a restaurant is safe or not? And don't other countries test these products too? Won't they show up quickly to be a problem as I am sure no other country will simply let them ship the beef?

Surely this whole issue shows them both the commercial dangers and health impacts of not setting up clear testing to ensure food safety. It has to be worth more than a few cows from what I believe produce just 3% of the beef consumed in Japan? If I was any other beef farmer I would be insisting on it before it destroys my sales......

Anonymous said...

I think Japan's reputation has really taken a beating. About time. The corrupt industry and government can and will continue to cover it up, as expected, but one must hope against hope that enough people in Japan, and outside, will continue to fight back. Every time the gov/industry is exposed as the bunch of amoral, self serving, corrupt and inept crooks that they are, it is a victory for honest people vs the oligarchy. There will be set backs but we must keep fighting on and not all Japanese are totally brain dead.

That's my little speech. ha.

Well, it is hard to see the practical strategy of the oligarchy to continue to cover this up as if it will restore their reputation, even as nuclear power is being discredited in Japan, and the oligarchy are being discredited on the internet and among independent researchers. The problem is that the TV (Talmud Vision) is blinding the population, but then I think even there people are planning to buy American BSE beef or tough Auzzie beef instead of domestic.

Japan's Crud-ability Rating is about ZERO.

Anonymous said...

Why are they processing the cows into meat & then testing? Radioactive cows will contaminate the slaughter houses and processing equipment.

Also, what are they doing with the hides? Radioactive shoes anyone?

Anonymous said...

"Why are they processing the cows into meat & then testing? Radioactive cows will contaminate the slaughter houses and processing equipment. "

You note not one of these press releases has mentioned decontaminating the slaughterhouses?

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