Friday, May 20, 2011

Shizuoka Governor: "We Won't Test Our Bulk Tea for Radiation, But Our Tea Is Safe, Trust Us"

I'm losing faith in the goodness and honesty of the agricultural growers in Japan, when they are organized into an association with political clout, like JA.

Shizuoka Prefecture produces over 60 percent of all green teas (final blend) produced in Japan. Right now, it's the season for new teas ("shincha"). Some big money at stake, but recently the high level of radioactive materials was detected from tea leaves grown in Kanagawa Prefecture (east of Shizuoka) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare wants 14 tea-growing prefectures including Shizuoka to test their bulk teas before they are further roasted and blended ("aracha").

Shizuoka has said no. The governor of Shizuoka Heita Kawakatsu, an Oxford PhD elite who was all for Hamaoka Nuke Plant restarting its Reactor 3 back in March after the Fukushima accident, is dead set against testing the bulk teas grown and processed in Shizuoka, saying "It will just confuse the consumer if the radiation is detected." His government tested the raw tea leaves and the final blend, found them below the provisional safety limits (500 becquerels per kilogram for raw leaves, 200 becquerels per kilogram for final blend), so he declares Shizuoka teas to be safe.

Then he hosts the "new tea" promotional event in Shizuoka, and declares "Shizuoka teas are so safe that I could drink it in gulps!" So, according to this Oxford PhD, a good-tasting tea is a safe tea. We've heard the similar remark from the governor of Fukushima and Fukushima JA (agricultural co-op) that Fukushima's vegetables taste so good that they are safe.

Even if the raw tea leaves have low radioactive materials, when they are roasted into "aracha" the radiation level will go up. But then, when "aracha" is further roasted and blended with other "aracha" from other regions into the final products, the radiation level may go down.

For the governor of Shizuoka, the beginning and the end are important. He clearly doesn't care or doesn't want to know what the middle may contain.

(J-CAST News on May 20 says Kanagawa, Saitama, Tochigi joined Shizuoka in refusing the testing of "aracha".)

Here's how Yomiuri Shinbun (3:28PM JST 5/19/2011) portrays the event performance by Governor Kawakatsu:


Heita Kawakatsu, governor of Shizuoka Prefecture issued the "Safety Declaration" on green teas grown in Shizuoka on May 18. Shizuoka prefectural government tested raw tea leaves and blended teas for consumers in 18 locations in Shizuoka for radioactive materials, and the result showed the radiation level was lower than the provisional safety limit set by the national government [500 becquerels per kilogram, raw leaves; 200 becquerels per kilogram, final blend]. At the prefectural government hall, the governor drank a cup of new tea with the growers and declared it safe.


As to the testing of the "aracha" that the Ministry of Health and Welfare is requesting, the governor said his government has no plan to test, because "it will confuse the consumer."

 川勝知事はこの日、県内14産地の茶娘らが新茶を振る舞う県のイベントで、「本県の誇る新茶をみんなで味わって、新緑の季節を祝おう。おいしいお 茶を、広く日本の皆さんに味わっていただきたい」と安全性をアピール。JA静岡経済連の田中鉄男会長は「検査で県産茶は安全だと確認された。静岡のお茶を 全国の皆さんに安心して飲んで頂きたい」と話した。

Governor Kawakatsu spoke in the event on May 18 with people from 14 tea-growing locations in Shizuoka and appealed the safety of Shizuoka tea. "Let's celebrate the seasons of new green, by drinking our new green teas that we're so proud of. We want people all over Japan to enjoy our delicious tea." Tetsuo Tanaka, chairman of the JA Shizuoka branch said "Now it's confirmed by the government testing that Shizuoka teas are safe. We want everyone in Japan to drink Shizuoka teas without safety concerns."


The Ministry of Health and Welfare is requesting 14 Prefectures including Shizuoka to test for radioactive materials in "aracha", which is made by steaming the raw tea leaves and then roasting them. Vice governor Yoichiro Iwase visited the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on May 17, and confirmed that there were differences between the Ministries as to how the test should be carried out. [The Ministry of Health and Welfare wants a stricter test.]


Based on that confirmation, Governor Kawakatsu decided not to test because "if we do something that confuses the consumer, that may deepen people's mistrust in the government." He said, "We have tested the tea that will be sold to the consumer and the raw tea leaves, and that's enough."


Matsutaro Saito, chairman of the Tea Commerce & Industry's Association of Shizuoka Prefecture said "That's the word we're waiting for. As the tea merchant of Shizuoka we handle 70% of all teas in Japan. We are going to sell our new teas in close cooperation with the prefectural government."

The Tea Commerce & Industry's Association's website has the test result. Raw leaves had radioactive cesium of between 44.23 becquerels/kg to 138.77 becquerels/kg (Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka City). The final blend had radioactive cesium of between 1.93 becquerels/kg to 10.91 becquerels/kg (Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka City). No radioactive iodine was detected.

Some responses to the governor's safety declaration, from a Japanese message board (original messages in Japanese):

Drink away, governor.

In Japan, safety has become a religion.

If you say it's safe, test "aracha".

If it's safe, he wouldn't need such stupid performance.

The more we're told something is safe, the more fearful we become. Just look at what has happened at Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

Don't gulp it down. Eat all leaves, too.

No one's stopping you, governor.

What is this silly trend of "safety declaration"? Isn't there anyone who says "We won't sell, because it may be harmful to the health. We will get the compensation money from TEPCO, or we'll sue the company if they refuse."

The tea plantation in Shizuoka that I've been buying from has declared their tea is safe by measuring radioactive iodine only. I guess I won't be buying from them.

Who said the radiation stops at the Hakone Mountains and will never reach Shizuoka?


doitujin said...

this is by far too creepy... is there anything like a list of the food and drinking goods the most potentially dangerous? i'm still deeply concerned.

leaf plants are no good, as they grow so fast, mushrooms are the same, it is said. as back in chernobyl. fish becomes a concern more and more and even the widely-used nori is known to be going to become a problem as it grows in the sea. milk or cheese is from cows, so maybe it's also a bad idea as grass is contaminated? but then meat would be the same and so all vegetables, fruits and new rice, in the end...... i'm going to get insane already whitout thinking of this current additional non-testing attitude or all those potential lies... i hoped japan would act better than the people in russia and the ukraine back then... as if we all carry geiger counters with us... they aren't even available on market anymore. in japan and(!) europe. just creepy...

l'amateur de thé said...

Bybye, Shizuoka...
Hello, Kyushu...

Anonymous said...

Dosimeters to all, and to all a good day!

Oh and don't badmouth the russkies. They did allright by their people. Massive, massive evacuation. Schools bricked up (literally, piling up bricks higher than window-level around the schools to reduce exposure inside), no playing in the yard that year, military and civilian rad safety checking the streets, spraying glue on the radioactive dust and marking the spots.

Some of the children, who lived nearer, were sent out of Ukraine for three moths out of every year afterwards, for the summer vacation, to give them a chance to recuperate and also to avoid the dust; the gov't in Moscow organized this, btw.

It was bad, the Soviets lied about how bad it was, made a lot of mistakes, put a lot of people in danger and even got some killed unnecessarily (the miners who dug that tunnel, especially).

It could have been worse. The veterans all got pensions and healthcare, but with the soviet union collapsing, those pensions and benefits are gone. I saw an interview with one of the firefighters in 1995. He was forty, looked sixty, no teeth of his own left. He was so sick he couldn't work, yet the state had cared for him, until the state was no more.

Compare and contrast with TEPCO and the Japanese gov't. The people who are most endangered, the jumpers, are taken off the street, paid a couple thousand dollars, get irradiated and then are told to go on their way, as if nothing happened. A new generation of hibakusha is being created.

Anonymous said...

Um... Anyone who drinks or eats anything grown in Japan is suicidal, and anyone who feeds it to children is a murderer. There is a massive cover-up in place so erring on the side of extreme caution is called for.

Toni Reita said...

Ionizing radiation can break molecules, at a cellular level, causing unpredictable chemical reactions.

Think of vibrations breaking glass, that is what happens at a cellular level, in your body, from ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation is insidious, these large subatomic particles travel until they are stopped.

Your skin can easily stop them.

Once they are ingested, inhaled, or enter your body through a cut, their grotesque potent force cuts through your body like knife through butter, into the cells, blood or other organs, impacting other organs and leaving behind hideous, shocking damage.

A single alpha particle from Plutonium, Uranium, Americium or Radon can deliver a huge blast of radiation inside your body. This radiation energy can destroy your genetic material at a cellular level.

Some people are more susceptible than others:

* Those who are already sick
* Those who have weak immune systems
* The elderly
* Children, babies & the unborn

Once radionuclides are released into the environment they circulate and are carried with the winds until they become part of the soil and food chain. They land in our drinking water, are on the pastures that our livestock graze on, are on our vegetables and in our fruit trees.

This is particularly dangerous for humans because we are at the top of the food chain, where the higher concentrations of radionuclides are.

Chernobyl was only 3 months old and burned only 10 days and almost one millions deaths were directly attributed to it. Fukushima continues and is multiple times worse than Chernobyl.

Everyone living in the Northern hemisphere had their lives changed on March 11, whether we believe it or not.

n 1972 Dr Abram Petkau discovered that low levels of radiation, over a longer period of time, were more damaging than higher doses over a short period of time.

Once you ingest or inhale even very low levels of radioactive particles the Petkau Effect immediately starts potentially lethal tissue ionization.

The phenomenon of the Petkau Effect basically means that you are ionizing or irradiating yourself continuously from the inside out. This insidious burning at your molecular level will impair your body long before there is a diagnosable disease.

Free radicals are generated during long term exposure to extremely low levels of radiation. which will exhaust our defenses unless our body has an abundant reserve of antioxidants.

Free radicals, or radicals, are atoms, molecules or ions with unpaired electrons. These highly reactive, molecules are unstable and contribute to the weakening of the body by destroying our cellular structure and making us more vulnerable to disease. When molecules in the body oxidize they become free radicals.

Without sufficient anitioxidants to combat the extreme low levels of radiation you will suffer from gene mutation, birth defects, infertility and increased risk for immune related disease and cancers.

Damage Attributed To Free Radicals

* degenerative disease
* memory loss
* neurological diseases
* atherosclerosis
* Alzheimers
* Parkinsons
* arthritis or other joint disorders
* heart disease or stroke
* diabetes
* cataracts
* cancer
* aging

Isn't it easy to see how the above diseases would never be associated with low levels of radiation?

The challenge to stay healthy will be with us far beyond the lifetimes of anyone capable of reading this.

My Top Choices to protect against radiation are easy, inexpensive and also work for animals. The soil where food is grown needs to be decontaminated also.

JB Hickock said...

Heita Kawakatsu epitomizes all that is wrong with humanity. Heita has embraced subhuman values. He cares more about money and power than human beings. He's a dirtbag. Decent Japanese need to scrape him off. He's subhuman vermin. He's a monster. He's a parasite on two legs. He's a sociopath. Get rid of him at once.

Anonymous said...


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

"Crony" capitalism, that is.

Anonymous said...

JB Hickock... unfortunately, Kawakatsu is 'normal' in the scheme of things... sad, infuriating as that is... yes, hopefully he has exposed himself for what he is and people will react.. Japanese are curious... they will go along with the status quo easily, and seem a bit stupified by 'authority'.. but actually, if they get pissed of and decide someone is a skunk, all hell breaks lose... hopefully that will be the case here... I am certainly promoting the idea of removing this man with my friends/associates here in Tokyo

Anonymous said...

I am living in Tokyo and I am also very concerned about food safety. PR stunts of governors or other politicians who are publicly eating vegetables etc. from a potentially affect region to prove that the food is safe are not impressing me at all. In contrary, given the recent history of cover-ups by TEPCO and the Japanese government, I do not trust them and don't eat any produce from Northern Japan, and now tea from Shizuoka.
However, the below comment is exaggerating. Not all food in Japan is contaminated. I had an informal conversation with a guy from a foreign institution which is measuring contamination levels and he told me that contamination can be very patchy, even in the greater region of the power plant. They couldn't find contaminated water up there, but on the other hand soil in regions outside the evacuation zone were contaminated.
I also own a contamination monitor that measures beta and gamma radiation and so far I couldn't find any food that shows increased radioactivity. While my home is also not contaminated, I could measure elevated radioactivity of some wooden structures outside and assume that cesium has been absorbed.

Anonymous said: "Um... Anyone who drinks or eats anything grown in Japan is suicidal, and anyone who feeds it to children is a murderer. There is a massive cover-up in place so erring on the side of extreme caution is called for." Quote end

Anonymous said...

Please do not allow advertisements in comments. The link to some 'Natural Health Home Remedies' website is really bad. This is some pseudoscientific, esoteric voodoo stuff.

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