Yokohama City officials, from the ex-Daiei CEO mayor on down, denied and refused to do anything about it since one of the city's assemblymen first raised the issue back in April of school lunches in the city using beef from cows that were possibly contaminated with radioactive materials. The officials asserted that any food items were "safe as long as they are sold in the marketplace". (See my post here for the assemblyman's effort with concerned citizens of Yokohama to force the city to stop the use of beef in school lunches.)
Now, the city's Board of Education finally admits that the city may have fed as many as 67,000 kids in elementary schools in the city with radioactive beef.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (10:11PM JST 8/5/2011):
Yokohama City announced on August 5 that the meat from 19 cows in Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate that may have been fed with rice hay contaminated with radioactive cesium may have been used in school lunches at the city's 127 elementary schools (for about 67,000 pupils).
According to the Health and Education section of the city's Board of Education, the meat from 19 cows were used 12 times between April 19 and June 21 as the ingredient for school lunches. The testing for radioactive materials in the meat was never done, and the meat has probably been all consumed. The Health and Education section of the Board of Education says "We don't know if we can trace the meat at all."
25 to 40 grams of the meat was used per serving. The Board of Education says "Since it was a small amount, it's hard to believe it would affect the health."
Here we go again. Citizens of Yokohama, take down the names of the people who said this.
So, the concerned citizens in Yokohama was raising the issue since April, and the they were dead right. They raised the issue with the city, and the city refused to do anything. Why? They could have tested the meat in April, and could have stopped using it. Instead, they did nothing, forced kids to eat school lunches (many parents were upset with school principals refusing to allow home-made lunch). Too afraid to find out? Too cheap to test?
It was only July 11 that Yokohama City finally stopped using the beef for lunch, several days before the summer break. They switched to pork, as if pork were safe. (More than 10,000 pigs have been moved from Fukushima and scattered throughout Japan since April, and there is no way to trace the movement as there is no unique identification system for pigs.)
Needless to say, it is not just elementary schools. That's what the city officials have admitted to. School lunches for kindergartens and nursery schools, and for junior high schools, are also prepared in the city's facilities and distributed to these schools.
UPDATE: Checking the Yokohama assemblyman's message board, it's just unreal what's going on there. And by no means Yokohama is unique in this. Some of what's happening:
The city is still intent on sending the school kids to the summer school in Nikko, in Tochigi Prefecture, where the radiation is high;
Many schools don't allow children to carry water bottles to schools, and say they have to drink tap water;
Many schools still don't allow home-made lunches, and one school demands the parents that they make exactly the same lunch as the school lunch if they insist on home-made lunch for their children. Some schools collect monthly lunch fees from the parents even if their children carry home-made lunches;
Schools are planning to have children do the yard cleanup after the summer break.
Parents, pull your children out of schools. Any school.
The announcement from the city's Board of Education is here (in Japanese). It details which school ate what on which date from which cow (with ID number). If you are a parent in Yokohama and read Japanese, go to the link above and check what your child may have been fed.
The Board of Education can't help these misleading statements though:
So far, there has been no report of detection of the radioactive materials exceeding the provisional safety limit.
Of course there isn't, because all the meat has been consumed and there's nothing left to test.
And obligatory reference to "Oh the radiation level from the beef is the same as one chest X-ray so it's no big deal."
It's really scary that these people are "educators". We know better, don't we, thanks in part to people like Professor Kodama (I've started the summary of his interview on August 5), who tells us that the number is irrelevant when assessing the risk of radiation; it's where the radionuclides go in the body and what specific effect they have at particular locations.
(H/T to "Nguyen_ducThuan", a reader of my Japanese blog and a concerned resident in Yokohama City, for the link to the Board of Education.)