Friday, January 27, 2012

Two Ways to Sell Contaminated Fukushima Rice: Sell Direct, and Discount for Wholesalers

No matter what the governments (national, prefectural) or the agricultural co-op (JA) in Fukushima say about the "safe" rice from Fukushima through vigorous testing, there are just too many ways that Fukushima rice that are contaminated with radioactive cesium can slip through and reach the consumers, without the consumers knowing that they are contaminated to a degree that they may not be comfortable eating it.

One way to sell directly to consumers, like in this case in Fukushima: "Mochi" rice (sticky rice used to make "mochi") containing 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium had been sold at a farm stand in Date City, Fukushima.

From Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):


The Fukushima prefectural government announced on January 27 that radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) was detected from "mochi" rice produced by a farmer in Date City in Fukushima Prefecture. The density was 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. According to the prefectural government, 57.5 kilograms of this rice had already been sold by the first half of November 2011 at a direct sales depot in the city. The direct sales depot is calling for the return of the rice.

Return? Most likely the rice has been already eaten as "mochi".

I totally fail to sympathize with the farmer who sold the rice at the direct sales depot. By 2011 fall, it should have been obvious, even to people in Date City, that their houses, farmlands were heavily contaminated. The city was measuring the radiation levels in the city and finding "hot spots" everywhere.

Another way is being practiced by the Fukushima JA: Reduce the wholesale price so that the distributors can get a fat margin, thus incentive for the wholesalers to push Fukushima rice. I'm sure they will be glad to oblige, because they mix and match with other rice from other parts of Japan anyway.

Also from Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):


The Fukushima Branch of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Association (JA) has been coordinating with the wholesalers to lower the wholesale price of some brands of rice produced in Fukushima in 2011. A multiple wholesalers disclosed the news [to reporters] on January 27. The new price will be effective as soon as January 30. As the sales has slumped due to the baseless rumors after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Fukushima JA may be aiming at stimulating the sales by lowering the wholesale price.


The wholesale price of "Koshihikari" from Nakadori (central Fukushima) and from Hamadori (coastal Fukushima) will be lowered by 1500 yen to be 13,800 yen and 13,700 yen per 60-kilogram bag respectively. "Hitomebore" brand produced in Fukushima will be lowered by 500 yen to 13,500 yen per 60-kilogram bag. The price for "Koshihikari" produced in Aizu region (western Fukushima) will not change.

I do not think it is likely that the wholesalers will pass on the savings to the retailers, if the past is any indication.

There are just too many channels through which the rice will leave Fukushima, as the Fukushima JA handles only 23% of rice produced in Fukushima anyway.

By the way, the Fukushima JA has decided on the rice growing policy in Fukushima for 2012 crop. The only areas that they say they will disallow the planting of rice are the areas that produced rice that exceeded 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. Everywhere else, even in those areas that were unlucky to be found with rice that had radioactive cesium between 100 and 500 becquerels/kg, the JA will allow the rice growing after "thorough decontamination" of the soil.


We know what "decontamination" they are talking about, don't we? The rice farmers in Fukushima who grew rice last year (almost all of them) tilled their contaminated land before planting last year, mixing up the radioactive cesium, strontium and whatever other nuclides that landed with the then-clean soil underneath. Most likely they did the autumn tilling before the snowfall last year already. Most locations weren't even tested for radioactive materials in soil.

How do you decontaminate such land? It certainly won't be accomplished by thinly scraping the soil surface. Remove the top 30 centimeters? No that won't be enough, because rain may have driven radioactive materials further down. Top 1 meter then? The productive part of the soil will be gone.


Darth3/11 said...

Since the only safe rice is last year's rice, I have about a three-year supply on hand. In three years's time, will the rice be safe? Or will basically all rice be contaminated as the cesium rice makes its misbegotten way throughout the hapless food chain of Japan? And, why isn't this story making huge headlines everywhere, since rice is the foundation food for most Japanese here?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you meant "top 30 centimeters", not meters.

farfromhome said...

DARTH 3/11 -

Buy rice from somewhere else, i.e. US, Taiwan.

no6ody said...

It will probably take a few decades, but phytoremediation is a good possibility. For example, sunflowers concentrate cesium and strontium in their tissues, and could be used to reduce soil levels of those radio-elements. Of course, the J-gov would have to dispose of the radioactive plants responsibly, LOL!
A Japanese site that proposes planting sunflowers
A news report about the sunflower project

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Thank you, yes I meant "top 30 centimeters".

About the sunflower planting, it didn't work in Fukushima. Cesium absorption was too small.

netudiant said...

Seems pretty simple grow feed grains.
The animals will excrete the radioactive cesium
if they are fed clean feed for a month or two before slaughter. Paying the farmers for the difference would be a lot cheaper than paying them to do nothing and a lot safer than just letting the harvest drift into the broader marketplace.
Is nobody thinking seriously in Japan about how to manage the consequences of this disaster?

Anonymous said...

No one in Japan knows what is going on and dont want to know, the farmers in Fukushima were recently in uproar at the new slightly stricter regulations on cesium in food, Ignorance is Strength in Japan

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@netudiant, why don't they do that? Feed grains don't sell as high as premium rice. I have to conclude growing radioactive rice and getting money for it beats concern for the health of the consumers. They clearly don't care about the consumers.

netudiant said...

If the priority is to protect the health of the nation, then it is unjust to make the local farmers bear the entire cost.
That is why I said 'pay the farmers for the difference'. Indeed, it would be easy to achieve full compliance with a tuned payments scheme.
It is the job of government to make rules that encourage people to comply, rather than to try to force people to accept damages.
It seems the Japanese legislature is being lazy in this regard. They are clearly not paying much attention to the problem.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@netudiant, sorry I didn't read your sentence carefully. I agree.

"It is the job of government to make rules that encourage people to comply, rather than to try to force people to accept damages."

Japanese government is clearly the latter. I think this whole accident and the aftermath are so much over their heads, they haven't a clue. They thought they could get away by talking a lot, but this is the problem for adults. These politicians are at best middle school bullies or middle school know-it-alls.

I took the liberty to tweet your suggestion to the Japanese twitter followers. Except for one who's hysterically against growing anything radioactive (without reading the whole thing), it looks it didn't occur to them to grow something other than rice.

Anonymous said...

this whole japanese issue is nothing but garbage.Nobody over there or over here on this side of the world gaves a damn what happened. It shocks me how the people of this world don't care about what they eat, drink or breath anymore. Who can we thank? The Govt's of this new world who only know how to kill people & fill thier own pockets... Hang them all !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The presstitute media in the USA barely reports on the Fukushima incident, so in he minds of most people it didn't happen. Radiation in Japan is just a conspiracy theory. Used to buy a lot of Japanese food and consumer goods at Mitsuwa here in Cali every month, but no more. We will not purchase anything from Japan now. No green tea, 振りかけ、焼酎、あめ、nothing. Calrose Japanese rice is excellent. It's so sad that the Japanese government has failed to address this problem in a logical fashion that protects the Japanese people. Their lack of judgement will come back to haunt them.

Anonymous said...

No level of that crap is safe. japan needs their butts kicked and forced to do something to stop this. I know it's a huge problem, but allowing people to sale and eat this is just crazy. the people of japan are going to start falling over dead for years to come because of this. The rich and people who are in the know are moving out, not only have you killed your country but the world as well.

Darth3/11 said...

farfromhome: Of course you are right, in future I could simply switch over to Thai rice or other rice sources outside of Japan. However, my broader point is what will the other millions of Japanese do? If the entire rice economy of Japan went out the window and Thailand et al suddenly had to supply all the rice for Japan, that would be quite an astonishing change. People would have had to recognize the facts of radiation contamination throughout the food chain, and rice farmers would have had to switch to growing something else. Etc., etc., etc.,

Is that going to really happen?

And, so far, we are not seeing those realizations manifesting in the minds and actions of too many, are we? So, I personally might take appropriate action, but I doubt everyone else will.

The long term is quite a worrisome subject.

Anonymous said...

HAARP's 2.5 Hz was directed at Japan for over 24 hours prior to the quakes on 4/11/2011, in order to cause an earthquake. This was documented in HAARP's logs until attention to this was raised on the Internet, whence a hole suddenly appeared in HAARP's logs. These facts need to be disseminated again, until everyone knows how this all occurred. Outrage would result.

a curiae said...

feeding anything grown there to animals who would then be eaten? are you serious?
nothing at all should use feed sourced there.
the people need to accept this and the govt needs to relocate them yes entire farms etc.
get the american funghi bioremediation chap to give advice and get cracking.

Anonymous said...


Really? HAARP? And you personally saw the hole that suddenly appeared in HAARP's logs? Or are you just repeating stupid nonsense someone else is writing on the net? The earthquake could not have happened because the eastern coast of Japan is located smack dab in the most seismically active region on earth--hell noooooooo, that's too logical an explanation. Dumbass.

Penny Pincher Personal Finance said...

And I suppose you have and can supply the missing HAARP logs yourself? Why are you flaming this person? What if it's true? Here's some references for you (purports to have image of HAARP broadcast of frequency causing earthquake)

BTW, 4 reactors in Japan allegedly got hit by Stuxnet right before the quake. But I'm also reading stuff about how Fukushima was hard wired because it was old, and so Stuxnet might not have been able to affect it. I'm no nuclear expert, and I wasn't there, so I dunno.

HAARP would have an easier job causing an earthquake in an earthquake prone area. I don't think they would waste their time on a stable area.

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