Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Anything Goes in #Radioactive Japan under LDP: Government to Allow Rice Growing in Former Evacuation Zones, Areas That Exceeded 500 Bq/kg in 2011

It's not just the stock market (superbly bid up by Goldman Sachs so that they can sell to the suckers) that's gone wild in Japan. Everything and anything, including allowing rice to be grown in the most contaminated areas in Fukushima.

Here's the latest from the publicly funded news station NHK News (1/29/2013):

福島県内 コメ作付け制限緩和

Within Fukushima Prefecture, the restriction on rice growing will be loosened


Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have announced its policy to loosen the restriction on rice cultivation in areas in Fukushima Prefecture, and allow farmers to grow rice even in the areas whose rice tested with radioactive cesium exceeding 500 Bq/kg in 2011, as long as all the rice bags are tested before they are shipped.


According to the policy announced on January 29 by the ministry, the areas in Fukushima that grew rice last year will be allowed to grow rice this year as long as they continue to do the tests including testing all the bags of rice.


Also, the areas that were restricted from growing rice, such as emergency evacuation preparation zone and the areas where radioactive materials [cesium] exceeding 500 Bq/kg were detected in the tests done in 2011, will be allowed to grow rice as long as there are management plans for the rice paddies in place and all bags of rice are tested before shipping.


In the [former 20-kilometer] evacuation zone, planned evacuation zone, and areas designated as limited habitation, rice will be grown this year as an experiment for the restart of growing rice [in the future]. Minister of Agriculture Hayashi said in the press conference, "Based on the intention of the locals, we have been preparing to help support the efforts to restart the growing of rice. We would like to see the agriculture in the disaster affected areas get rebuilt as soon as possible."

Intention of the locals??? What about the intention of the consumers?

Consumers have been too considerate and reasonable, I'm afraid. The most people on Twitter say about food contaminated with radioactive cesium is that they do not support or participate in the government campaign of "Eat and Support". Most of them (with few exceptions here and there) don't want to hurt the feelings of farmers in the contaminated areas in Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and northern Kanto. Saying they don't support the government campaign has done nothing to stop the distribution of contaminated food throughout Japan and beyond (in Thailand, for example).

It is not true that "all of Japan has been contaminated, and therefore food grown everywhere is contaminated", as people often quote Kyoto University's Koide as saying. From what I've read, what Dr. Koide is talking about is the contamination from the atmospheric testing, not necessarily from the Fukushima accident. But he doesn't make it clear, and people do not bother to make it clear.

There are clean(er) food items available from west Japan and Hokkaido where the fallout from Fukushima was negligible. And yet, the Japanese are told to eat food grown in the contaminated areas, so that the farmers there can make money and recover (so that the national government does not need to compensate them). Those who can afford quietly buy from western Japan. Those who cannot simply give up.

I've always disliked Professor Hayakawa's attacks on consumers who do not protest against contaminated food but who do against wide-area disposal of disaster debris which happens to be also contaminated with radioactive materials. I still disagree with Professor Hayakawa on disaster debris, but I have to agree with him on food.

If, for example, people who used to gather in great numbers in front of the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Tokyo every Friday last year had shouted "We don't want to eat contaminated food!" instead of single-issue chanting of "No restart of nuke plants!", I wonder what difference it might have made. I know it wouldn't have happened, as the organizers of the event was for "eat and support", and contamination in Tohoku and Kanto was non-issue for them.


Anonymous said...

Why not use the areas for growing industrial rice? How am not sure what this sort of rice is used for exactly, I just remember yet another labelling scandal where a company sold industrial use rice as consumer/food grade rice a few years back.

But yeah, I suppose it would violate the feelgood/ganbarou message that JGOV is desperate to maintain.

Anonymous said...

While Daiichi leaks radiation what makes gvt, univ "experts" think just Fukushima rice should be tested. Winds and Tides have no boundaries. Force gvt and univ experts to live in Fukushima and eat the rice!

Darth 3/11 said...

Confused. They may test the rice, but then what? "Hey, this rice is over the limit!" "So noted. Send it to Jusco."

Anyway, I only buy food from outside of Fukushima. Never buy food labeled "from Japan". Never buy cheap food, especially mushrooms, so labeled.

I still have enough rice left that was bought before 3/11 to last for five years, as I am not a major rice consumer anyway.

These are my daily considerations in this new era of woefully irresponsible politicians and government who do NOTHING to protect the consumers.

What the hell are those farmers in heavily contaminated areas thinking when they mechanically plant the damned rice in contaminated fields again? Can't they see? Can't they think outside of the box/tanbo that existed before 3/11 but sure as hell does not exist NOW and forever in the future? Shouldn't they be suing the heck out of TEPCO before leaving to plant rice in other parts of Japan? The countryside sure needs new blood. Go there and raise untainted rice and prosper.

Anonymous said...

>Why not use the areas for growing industrial rice?

"Industrial rice" is how the Japanese get rid of cheap foreign rice that they are forced to import in the name of "open markets". The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry mostly buys foreign rice that is contaminated with pesticides and is therefor unfit for human consumption (radiation is fine). This protects the domestic rice producers from foreign competition in the consumer market. This rice is used to make glue, coat paper and make activated charcoal among other things. Industrial rice isn't going to pay the farmers enough to bother with planting. But the farmer's have an ace up their sleeve most Japanese have been conditioned to consider Japanese products superior so many will buy the domestic rice regardless of how contaminated it is as long as the government says its safe. Every bag will get a cursory glance if alarms happen to go off they'll just blend it down with rice from other clean regions until it passes "inspection". I wouldn't be surprised if they tested the empty bags before they filled them and used that number as the contamination level. If I was a farmer I won't even try unless the government guaranteed to buy my produce at full price contaminated or not.


Anonymous said...

Paralysis through politeness will end the Japanese people.

Anonymous said...

According to Asahi (AJW 28 Jan 2013) on March 15th 2011 US authorities ordered the evacuation of women and children at the Yokosuka naval base, following the detection of a peak of fallout from Fuku 1; Yokosuka is located **300km** from Fuku 1.

At the same time Edano was repeating on TV that there was no immediate danger for health.

Now, the Japanese voters, in a clear display of long term memory disorder, put mr. Abe and its LDP again at the helm of this country, the very people who are responsible for Japan nuclear policy, who want to restart the npps and further sink the nation into debt.

How could this happen?


Anonymous said...

@ Darth 3/11
I suppose you live or stay in Japan, then.
I and my wife stay in Japan some 3 months a year, in total. I was amazed at how we actually act and understand things the same way. She's of a sceptical kind, although tough and not paranoid. She's Japanese.
The way you deal with food would be very close to our's.
We only relax and just eat whatever we want to when we're home in Europe. As we used to do in Japan before Fuku.
I asked her the same question you do in your last paragraph. She answered me : but these people are living on local contaminated food, every day of the week. That was soon after the disaster.
The problem is nothing has changed in almost two years.
Some people bash down products from Tohoku and North Kanto, some promote them.

And no, there's no place for newcomers in JA. It's all filled up. No place left, and no market.

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