I don't quite understand the psychology of some of the farmers in Fukushima in the past two years. From what's been reported and what I've known in blogs and tweets, they are angry that fickle consumers outside their prefecture are still fanning the "baseless rumors" that their produce is contaminated with radioactive materials from the biggest nuclear accident in Japan in history, and they are determined more than ever to keep producing anything they like and demand that consumers buy them, because they have to make living. I'm sure there are conscientious farmers who would rather not farm, but they are not vocal.
"Eat and support" is now clearly being expanded to foreign countries, with Thailand to start.
For some time, the Fukushima prefectural government and Fukushima JA seem to have been targeting Thailand, which receives 70% of foreign economic aids from Japan, according to Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. First, it was Fukushima peaches. Then apples, pears, then persimmons. Now, Fukushima will sell fresh cherry tomatoes and asparagus to wealthy Thais.
That, on top of the hot money escaping from Japan, thanks to PM Abe and BOJ's Kuroda, and pouring into developing nations including Thailand. Thais are traditionally very friendly to Japanese, but I wonder how long that will last.
From Fukushima Minyu (5/17/2013; part):
Vegetables grown in Fukushima to be sold in Thailand, first export of cherry tomatoes and asparagus
Fukushima Trade Promotion Council made of the prefectural and municipal governments and corporations in Fukushima announced on May 16 that cherry tomatoes and asparagus grown in Fukushima will be exported to Thailand for the first time, and test sales will be on May 24 to 26 at large department stores in Bangkok. It will be the first export of Fukushima's vegetables to Thailand. On May 23, a business meeting with potential buyers will be set up in Bangkok, where 4 brands of well-renowned sake in Fukushima will be offered. The Council felt good that peaches and apples from Fukushima sold well [in Thailand last year], and wants to make this occasion a foothold to expand export to Thailand.
Vegetables to be exported this time are 40 kilograms of cherry tomatoes produced by Tomatoland Iwaki (in Iwaki City), and 30 kilograms of asparagus produced in Kitakata City and shipped by JA Aizu Iide. Since it will be a test sales, the quantities will be small, and they will be sold at 5 stores of a large department store chain in Thailand. In order to export, it is necessary to confirm the safety of the produce at a testing laboratory designated by the Thai government. So, at the time of shipment, the vegetables will be tested for radioactive materials. The test results will be attached to the vegetables which will be transported by air from Haneda Airport.
Tomatoland Iwaki's homepage proudly says "Delicious and Safe Produce to Your Table".
The company says it tests its tomatoes for radioactive materials using the germanium semiconductor detector at an outside lab. Radioactive cesium not detected, says the latest result for cherry tomato on May 15, 2013. Looking closely, I notice that the detection limit is 10 Bq/kg. That's awfully high for the germanium semiconductor detector, meaning they don't test long. But in post-Fukushima Japan, if it is less than 10 Bq/kg, what are you complaining about? There's nothing to fear.
Iwaki City is located 30 kilometers south of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
While the Aizu region (mountain third of Fukushima) are relatively free of radioactive materials from the accident, areas around Kitakata City is unfortunately not so clean, as you can see in Professor Hayakawa's map.
Fukushima Prefecture's own testing of asparagus from Kitakata City has been N/D, with the detection limit of about 8 to 20 Bq/kg for radioactive cesium.
So, people in Bangkok will have an opportunity to taste pricey cherry tomatoes and asparagus from Fukushima which may or may not have radioactive cesium, in addition to peaches, apples and persimmons which were found with radioactive cesium, albeit below the government safety standard of 100 Bq/kg.
There are people who retweet this story in Japan with their comment like "Now the risk of having these vegetables and fruits processed in Thailand and shipped back to Japan as "Made-in-Thailand" food will be even greater!" It does not make any economical sense for Thais to do so, but for some Japanese, it has to be always the Japanese who are the victims of this nuclear accident.