Wednesday, January 25, 2012

#Fukushima Farmers Angry at New Safety Standard for Radioacte Materials in Food As "Too Strict"

"With the new, stricter safety standard, we cannot farm", they say.

A small portion of Japan's consumers would say "YES!!!", while the majority would feel bad that they are not doing enough to support the poor farmers in Fukushima Prefecture. "They are victims of TEPCO and the government!" they say. "It's not their fault that radioactive materials have fallen (and continue to fall) on their farmland."

It's not their fault, but it's their choice to farm on a contaminated land and possibly produce contaminated food, just like last year, and sell it to people outside Fukushima, just like last year while they say they cannot let their small children and grandchildren eat it.

From Fukushima Minpo, not the entire article (1/25/2012):


"If the standard gets stricter, I have no choice but quit farming." There was a meeting in Fukushima City on January 24 where the Ministry of Health and Labor and the Food Safety Commission under the Cabinet Office explained the new safety standard for radioactive cesium in food. The farmers who attended the meeting spoke out angrily. It was the first meting outside Tokyo, but there were more producers who did not agree with the policy of the national government [on food safety]. On the other hand, consumers want even stricter standards while the Fukushima prefectural government is unsure how to establish a system to detect radioactive materials in food.


"Half-dried persimmons and blueberries, people don't eat them everyday. The safety limit for those shouldn't be 100 becquerels/kg." A farmer from Nihonmatsu City angrily demanded the revision of the new safety standard, accusing the national government for having tightened the standard without considering the hardship suffered by the farmers in Fukushima. The farmer said, "By uniform tightening of the standard, farmers cannot grow crops, and local specialties will disappear."


About 160 farmers and government administrators attended the meeting. One JA official, who has been asked about the safety of agricultural products [in Fukushima] from the retailers, demanded that [the national government] issue a declaration of safety and security of the Fukushima produce, and the declaration be accompanied with the stricter standard. But there was no clear answer from the officials from the national government. The JA official angrily continued, "You are not answering my question. Do you think the consumers would eat [our produce] just by tightening the standard?"


The farmers in Fukushima are fearful and disturbed by the introduction of the stricter safety standard. A farmer in Koriyama City said there was no radioactive material detected from the rice he grew last year on his 20 hectares of rice paddies. However, there is no guarantee that this year's crop will fare the same. "It is necessary to tighten the standard so that the consumers feel safe. But I wouldn't be able to grow rice at ease if I were to suffer from "baseless rumors" if a minute amount of radioactive materials was found", he lamented.

There is a wide, wide gap between these farmers and JA officials and the consumers who do care about radioactivity in food. The gap is so wide that I don't think they understand each other any more.

To these farmers, radioactive materials found in their crop are nothing but "baseless rumors". To the JA official, I would ask "Do you think consumers eat your food because the national government made a declaration?"

So, they will continue to farm, looking more like the tense and angry Mr. Sugeno , and not like Mr. Tanno, relaxed and happy growing food he loves after leaving contaminated Fukushima. See my January 7 post about these two farmers.

Consumers still have a choice of not eating blueberries and half-dried persimmons (they were found with rather high levels of radioactive cesium last year) from Fukushima, for now. There are people in Japan who are proposing a system whereby all food items will carry labels like "not fit for consumption for people under 20". They want the older people to eat radioactive food so that the farmers in Fukushima can continue to farm.

Now I think about it, it's not that much different from what the ICRP says. It is grotesque to me nonetheless.


AdamInOkehazama said...

The efforts made to control the situation are about 1% of what's needed.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"So, they will continue to farm, looking more like the tense and angry Mr. Sugeno , and not like Mr. Tanno, relaxed and happy growing food he loves after leaving contaminated Fukushima."

That's such a great comparison. Someone should make a poster out of them.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. "There are people in Japan who are proposing a system whereby all food items will carry labels like "not fit for consumption for people under 20."

Food unsafe for people under 20 is unsafe for those over 20. How absurd!

Anonymous said...

TEPCO and Japanese Government need to adequately compensate these people. Are we looking a what happens world-wide during a nuclear crisis? Those in the contamination zone are totally on their own? No income, no compensation for property, no help for health issues? Checked insurance covering nuclear accidents in the USA..NO INSURANCE covers for nuclear disaster, the company (VEPCO is one) only needs 330 Million insurance for each plant-the US government is then responsible for the rest. Right. During BP Oil Spill -THAT model was used..the "clean up"took up all the funds, people lost business/livelyhoods,lives destroyed, health damaged without medical recognition, and environmental damage is just being assessed. BP Oil Spill, Japan radiaton victims are the new model for disaster results.

Anonymous said...

"If the standard gets stricter, I have no choice but quit farming."

These people has LOST their minds!. Since TepCo & Jap Government have both caused this problem, the affected people needed to be compensated for it. To do this, they ought to MOVE/relocate to an area either northern or very southern of the Island. They ought to DEMAND this and the state has the responsibility to provide it. No excuses and no prolonged waiting!. The current state of lies and more lies is going to kill a lot of people. This is willful murder to the people in power.

Chibaguy said...

Compensate these people to stop producing products that lead to cancer and other diseases. Yes, Fukushima is a vast farmland but there is no reason not to tell these people that they are collectively producing poison. Anyway, no hiding the truth. Wish we could punish criminals of contamination is real time and not when they have deceased.

Anonymous said...

Compensation should come out of TEPCO's coffers. It's not that hard. Nationalize it and sell it piece by piece, use the money for a reconstruction fund.

Anonymous said...

Very right anon @ 4:39!
However there will be no compensation because it is simply too expensive. There isn't the money. This is why these nuclear plants are constructed in the countryside well out of the way from the metropolises. Can you imagine if a bunch of educated Tokyoites lost their real estate or precious mansions? How vocal and angry would they be?
The trouble with nuclear power is that it is simply too expensive WHEN IT GOES WRONG. That is why insurance companies wont even touch it. They ain't stupid.
Now the poor farmers in Fukushima need to redirect their anger at the government and Tepco. Society at large needs to help and support them...But they won't and the government know they won't because they (the gov) know that for the majority it is easier to 'look away' and keep going in their own little lives/worlds. The Fukushima farmers will be forgotton soon enough. ''Kawaiso''.
Should they still persist in farming the cesium pit? No of course they shouldn't. But they dont have the money or wherewithal to move (like the superrich and the bankers did).

The farmers are just playing their part in trying to resist the new paradigm which they find hard to accept. They will writhe, they will wriggle, shout and foam at the mouth. But you can't change the consequences for Fukushima now. Its a shithole. In fact it's worse than that. better to make the whole place a nuclear dump for spent fuel rods and debris. Move everyone out. Isolate the problem as best as poss.
Unfortunately this is simply too much of an admission for the gov and for the nuclear industry. Ditto the lies about the food being 'safe'. Those who think it safe, please eat it up. Those who think otherwise, just leave it. Its no good telling a mother with kids ''it's ok, it's only got a tiny bit of poison in-your little angels won't even notice it. Now eat it up and be a good citizen. it's my livelihood you are questioning here-never mind your kids''.

The only real 'baseless rumour' told was to the farmers in the first place and it was this:

no6ody said...

There are plants and mushrooms that selectively absorb cesium; there must be other plants that can pull different radioactive elements out of the soil. Some of these farmers should be paid to do some research--perhaps growing sunflowers for a couple decades will lower soil cesium levels? The research needs to be done, for there is much contaminated land and more 'hot' spewing from damaged reactors.

Phyto-remediation SCIENCE!

robertb said...

Compensate them. Maybe relocate them somewhere where they can continue to farm. You know, where it isnt irradiated. I don't think I'll ever eat fish from the pacific again. I have a feeling that japan is now importing their products through other countries. That way when they get here they say made somewhere else. Consumers like me wouldnt know the difference

Anonymous said...

To say that this disaster is unfair to the residents of Fukushima is a hideous understatement. However, nobody in the world is guaranteed the right to the job of his or her choice in the place of his or her choice for life. (This may not be true of royalty that would also choose to be royalty, but...) If my workplace is destroyed by a natural disaster (and Tokyo University says that's more likely than possible), I'll lose my job. Rural areas all over Japan have been depopulating for decades. There are unused fields and houses everywhere. People who want to farm should be resettled. The idea that Taro has the right to grow blueberries in Fukushima because he was born there and wants to does not correspond to reality. (And nobody's even talking about Tochigi, Gunma, or Ibaraki, anymore. Take a look at the fallout map. There are big areas just as contaminated as western Fukushima.) TEPCO needs to resettle those who lose their farming jobs because of the need to protect people from eating nuclear waste but want to continue farming. The same goes for fishermen. The contamination maps indicate that most of Japan's Pacific fishing grounds are no longer suitable for fishing. The government can issue all the certificates it wants but my family is not buying it. Only a minute fraction of a crop in a few locations is being tested. The government is doing its best to look the other way. Listen to that bloke from Koriyama who says no radioactive materials were detected from his crop. You can walk into any park in Tokyo and take a small sample that will have caesium, so his statement is absurd.

Anonymous said...

Fuck the Farmers, we want uncontaminated food !

Anonymous said...

robert while Japan may be importing "safe products, it is also exporting goods and donating goods to charities in other disadvantaged parts of the world.If everyone will just read the pamphlet, stick to their lines,there will be money to be made and no cause for concern over the fact that the Daichi nuclear plant has been continuously leaking radioactive elements into the air and water since March 11 and there is no end in sight.
The international agreement regarding ocean dumping can no doubt be disregarded along the same principles as TEPCO's decision to reduce the reporting. It was an accident. Not liable or responsible for anything.
Apparently the global community is supporting this deadly nonsense.

W. Home said...

The staggering number of food poisoning accidents globally should be a sign of creating more and strong campaigns that aims for food safety in distribution and consumption in every country. food hygiene training

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