Thursday, January 3, 2013

#Radioactive Japan under LDP: Law May Be Passed to Force Retailers to Carry Fukushima Produce

Speaking of population decrease, Japan has a ministerial post to deal with declining number of children in Japan. The new minister under the Abe pork-cutlet-curry administration is Ms. Masako Mori, who is also the minister in charge of consumer affairs.

In another WTF moment, Ms. Mori declares the new national government under LDP is considering passing the legislation to force retailers to sell Fukushima produce. It's not very clear from the article below by Fukushima Minpo whether this legislation is intended for retailers only in Fukushima, or any retailers anywhere. (The more I read it, it feels the legislation will be for the retailers everywhere in Japan, but not 100% sure.)

Fukushima Minpo also makes it obvious that Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency (whose head is the same Ms. Mori) is for helping producers, not consumers.

No wonder her party wants to ditch the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of commerce.

According to Japanese wiki, Ms. Mori was one of those "backbenchers" who heckled the DPJ politicians with vulgar words.

From Fukushima Minpo (1/3/2013):

県産品の販売促進へ法制化検討 森少子化相、扱い店舗優遇へ

Minister Mori says the government will consider legislation to promote produce and goods made in Fukushima, giving preferential treatment to retailers who sell Fukushima produce/goods.


Masako Mori, minister in charge of dealing with declining number of children (elected to the Upper House from District in Fukushima Prefecture), in a New Year interview with Fukushima Minpo, indicated that she is considering legislation to promote the sales of produce and goods made in Fukushima in order to eradicate baseless rumors resulting from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The legislation will prompt retailers to sell agricultural produce and manufactured products that are confirmed to be safe. It will include preferential treatment of retailers who display Fukushima produce and goods in their storefronts. Ms. Mori also emphasized the government's commitment to expand the budget for countering the damages from baseless rumors in the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget and to accelerate the measures to resolve problems.


Ms. Mori, also in charge of Consumer Affairs Agency which deals with countermeasures against baseless rumors, said, "Fukushima produce should be displayed in storefronts, and consumers who want to buy them should be able to buy them. Otherwise, the countermeasures [against baseless rumors] will not be effective", indicating she wants to work full-scale on the retailers.


[Mori said] the government will aim to pass the legislation to promote the sale of Fukushima produce and goods, in order to clearly show [to the public] how the national government stands on the issue of baseless rumor damages. It is considered that Mr. Mori's agency [Consumer Affairs Agency] and related agencies and ministries will decide on the details [of the legislation]. In summary, the legislation would "designate Fukushima Prefecture as the "special zone", and enable the national government to order retailers to sell locally-produced goods and to extend preferential treatment to retailers who sell such goods in the storefronts", Ms. Mori explained.


The Constitution guarantees "freedom of commerce". It remains to be seen whether the legislation can legally force retailers.


Ms. Mori also disclosed that she would ask for more money for countermeasures against baseless rumor damages in the fiscal 2012 [ending in March 2013] supplementary budget. Educational events would continue, and there would be more emphasis on face-to-face sales between producers and consumers to re-establish the trust in the Fukushima produce/goods. She said she recognized the need for carefully planned support for the producers, including the government paying for transportation costs for the producers to travel to consumption areas.


As to the problem of declining number of children and support for rearing children, she promised that she will examine what role the national government should play toward making the thyroid testing of children more meaningful and expediting the testing, and that the government would then work on a plan as soon as possible.

The last convoluted bit (which may make Sir Humphrey proud) means she won't do a thing either on the declining number of children or on the thyroid testing for children. This answer alone is enough to tell me she is a lawyer. (Sure enough, Japanese wiki says she was a classmate of Yukio "there is no immediate effect on health" Edano in Tohoku University Law School.)

About the possible unconstitutionality of Ms. Mori's legislation, Japanese Constitution Article 22 is generally interpreted to guarantee the freedom of commerce, as the freedom to choose occupation is meaningless unless the freedom of commerce is guaranteed:

Article 22. Every person shall have freedom to choose and change his residence and to choose his occupation to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare.
Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate.

I can perfectly see how Abe's LDP (which many say is not the LDP they've known) is going with this. They will limit the Article 22 by saying allowing this freedom of commerce interfere with the public welfare. See, how producers in Fukushima have suffered!

And the Abe government will strongly promote face-to-face sales by the Fukushima producers, knowing fully well that by nature most Japanese find it very hard to say no, face to face.

Where are Ishihara and Morita when we need them, to teach Japanese to say no? Well, Morita is long dead, and Ishiraha is playing politics with the boy-wonder. Neither of them would be likely to ever dream of saying no to their beloved government.


Anonymous said...

The ulimate responsibility for eating or not eating produce from the *special zone* lies with the consumer. It has to be understood that the government will always lie in order to make everything look just great...atthe same time you cna bet their own children, already privately schooled and educated, aren't nibbling away behind the baseless rumours table. Feckless.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

In many locations in Kanto, many consumers have no choice but buy "local" produce, as nothing else is offered for sale. Not all consumers can buy on the net (cost, technology). I can't place responsibility on such consumers.

If anything, that's one of the few things that the government could, and should do, but it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Japan just mandate the population buy and drink bottled Daiichi excess cooling waters and get rid the stored low level radioactive waters that way?

Same thing as mandating radioactive food sales, Right? Just put a smiley label on it.

Anonymous said...

That image is nasty. It reminds me of a monster I saw somewhere, but I can't recall exactly what.

@Anon 6:16PM
Did you forget about the constant mislabelling? How are the consumers supposed to know whether the food they buy is from a contaminated area? At this point, it's not unreasonable to assume that all of their food sources are contaminated to some degree.

Have you ever tried to find out where the ingredients for each thing in your food comes from? It's fuckin' hard. Packaging and websites usually only list the source location as part of importing or advertising. If you went around asking where they caught their fish or anything like that, everybody would give you strange looks.

It also doesn't help that most countries don't seem to be checking the radiation level of imports from Japan, nor seafood obtained from potentially contaminated sources such as the Pacific Ocean. People worldwide are still eating imported Japanese confectionery like nothing could ever be wrong.

Even investigations into contaminated or poisoned food take a long time to determine the source. I hope you now realize how difficult it is to track food sources. It's not up to the consumer at all.

Also, caution over food source is not "fear-mongering" or "mass-media hysteria". The fact is, despite the "safety" level, food contaminated with nuclear radioactive material always carries potential health risks. The less you eat, the better. It is completely logical and reasonable to avoid that risk to the best of your ability.

Darth 3/11 said...

This is just vile. Sounds as self-centered and mean-spirited as the Republicans in Congress/USA. Looks like we are all going down a very deep and long rabbit hole.

While I've heard that large inland areas of Fukushima are as free of radioactivity as anywhere in Japan, there is still no movement for accurate labeling.
Personally, I always check the "ku" where vegetables/fruit are from. Even though that takes a microscope sometimes to read, it's something. Sometimes I can go down to Kamakura's ichiba farmer's market for fresh local and amazing produce.

Anonymous said...

Darth 3/11, mean-spiritedness is fully shared by your beloved Democrats and the White House.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Yup. She looks scary.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Missing Goshi Hosono yet?

Scott said...

Par for the course for her purebred politician type. LOL at "baseless" rumors. The idea that tings that may come from Fukushima and parts of northern Japan may be contaminated didn't just appear out of nowhere, they were given a lot of room to grow by the uncooperative government to do anything about the disaster's aftereffects.

She may try to force companies to sell Fukushima goods but it sure as hell doesn't mean the average consumer looking out for themselves won't go the extra mile to avoid it either. This idea will do nothing more than be yet another outlet for wasteful spending at Orwellian doublespeak.

Anonymous said...

Many simply cannot afford to go extra mile even if they wanted to, Scott.

Scott said...

9:43 anonymous do you mean the people living outside the northern prefectures that were affected by the 3/11 disasters? You have a point there as they're a somewhat captive population. I speak more of other more southern regions of Japan that still have variety in ingredients.

For those people I am truly saddened they are not allowed a chance to decide for themselves as regular adults. There are other ways to support business in northern Japan. Forcing unwanted, questionable consumables on them isn't the way to do things. :(

Darth 3/11 said...

I really wish more of you "Anonymous" folks would take a moment to give a handle. It's always confusing to figure out who said what, and the ability to build a sense of personalities is wiped out. Would really help with the ongoing conversations that it appears we are going to have for some years to come.

FallOutMan! said...

Agreed Darth.

Anonymous said...

The people up there in the contaminated lands should have been airlifted out to Western Honshu and Kyushu.Instead the useless jobsworths we have for politicians decided it was better for them to sit around in camps breathing it all in. That would have looked just great for Nuclear Power-inexpensive my arse.I wish that Tokyo was closer to the meltdown and directly downwind, then we may have seen some rich people getting upset, rather than a bunch of expendable peasants, their livlihoods shot to pieces in order that Tokyo can keep her lights on and electric bum cleaners running.
For people remaining up there (and there are plenty who have moved south) best ofluck.Ireally feel for you. But you must not trust the government. I know where I will be going if my *local* nuclear plant goes BANG.

Regarding food. You really do have to REJECT the lies. If you have no choice other than to move away or eat it, then MOVE. What are you, stupid? If everyone got up and moved en masse they'd have a problem. It's peoples INERTIA that is the problem. Effing compensation...for a few Yanks on a nuclear ship. You are having a laugh! This is your own countrymen you are betraying.Your beautiful country you are destroying. All for what?? So a few people can enrich themselves at your expense and short or go long the ensuing stock/financial/bond debacle.

"Have you ever tried to find out where the ingredients for each thing in your food comes from? "
You bet I do! I can recommend for a start that you forget restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores. You can also buy 100% local from farmers and fishermen, butchers etc. If you cant,then I'm afraid you are trapped in the wrong paradigm of a life where you will be made to eat it up because you havent got time from work to shop around because you have to work every hour god sends to pay your mortgage or rent or kids juku fees or car loan or whatever. It is inertia like this that allows the government to pull the wool over everyones eyes. 'Wanna give up your cooler or heating? Then get in line and bring back the nuclear power'-blahblah voteLDP. We got you into this mess and were gonna take you deeper.''

"In many locations in Kanto, many consumers have no choice but buy "local" produce, as nothing else is offered for sale. Not all consumers can buy on the net (cost, technology). I can't place responsibility on such consumers. "

Got legs? MOVE OUT. Send the bill to TEPCO.
You are free, therefore choose. Dont expect the government to do the job for you. You yourself have chronicled here the worst excesses of government and bureaucratic treason: feeding innocent children beef (because its cheap) peaches to, pears, school dinners, shitake, tea, and on and on. What do you expect the government to do? Tell the truth? LOL!

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

>Got legs?

They may still have legs but they may not be working as well as they did when they were much younger. Things are not as easy when you are 80 years old, for example.

And they do not trust a national government, having lived through World War II.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your meal~

Anonymous said...

Ultraman...if you are 80 years old there may not be any point moving if you don't want to. But if you are young enough to have kids-or have kids-then it high time to move, whether you want to or not.

Anonymous said...

"Move out and send TEPCO the bill"

1) Nobody wants your possibly contaminated butt as a neighbor there have been plenty of cases of the few people who could afford to move being shunned and mistreated in their new homes.

2)Can you just up and move your family without financial aid? TEPCO will throw out your unsolicited claim without a second thought and nobody is going to rent or sell to you on the promise of unlikely future payment. TEPCO has left victims still living in public shelters paying for their own bento boxes I doubt they'll be forced to pay for people to move from what the government considers "perfectly good homes".

3) Let's say you and your neighbors scrap enough together to move out of the area can you find a job paying a living wage in the new area? Will the new region be able to support the influx of people, will they want to? The answer to these questions is NO. Look at the aftermath of Katrina in the US many victims tried to flee to unaffected states only to be shunned and hated as these states reached infrastructure saturation. Many of these victims were taken advantage of by the unscrupulous very few got a fair shake. Japan isn't full of empty houses and unoccupied land it has one of the highest population densities of the first world. So "just move" really isn't an option, when people are starving in Africa why don't they just move and send the government the bill?

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