Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(Updated) #Radioactive Japan: People Invited to Eat Cesium Beef from Iwate

(Update at the bottom)

This is the copy of the printed version of Fukushima Minpo on April 25, 2012, a local newspaper in Fukushima:

The reporter signs off as "Kyodo News", but reading the postscript part of the article it is clear that this is the original Fukushima Minpo article. It was probably fed to Kyodo News, as Fukushima Minpo is a member of Kyodo News.

What does it say?

The series title in the upper right corner: "New Happiness in Japan - Measure"

The article title in the middle: "Think what "food safety" means"

The subtitle of the article: "Cesium beef offered at an event"

From this information, if you conjure up the image of the gist of the article as "OK, the happiness in Japan in post-Fukushima is to gladly eat beef known to contain radioactive cesium to help producers as long as it is measured and disclosed properly, and that's food safety", I'll give you an A.

Quick translation (main article only, subject to revision later, maybe):

It was quiet in the office district on Sunday. It was March 11 afternoon, one year anniversary of the disaster. Couples with children, middle-aged men in jeans were entering a 12-story public building off the busy streets in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

On the tables in the kitchen that is used for cooking classes were the plates with hamburgers just cooked. Mitsuhiro Anada (age 40) told the people in the kitchen, "These contain 6 becquerels/kg [of radioactive cesium]. Please let me know if you don't want to eat them. We have also prepared cesium-free ones." About 30 people then sat at the table and started to eat.

Mr. Anada is the head of "Mo-ton Family", a meat processing company located in the northern Iwate. The event, "Let's eat cesium beef" came about after calling the customers who buy ham, hamburger meat and sausages from his company by mail order.

The main dishes are the hamburgers and beef stew made from the beef that had been detected with radioactive cesium. Both dishes tested far below the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg [it was still the provisional safety limit in March this year]).

"I wanted the consumers to think about what "food safety" means, by showing the number [of radioactive cesium measurement] and having them eat [the meat]", said Anada when asked why he held this event.

Mr. Anada and his wife have run the company. They have avoided the beef from cattle fed with imported feed, and insisted on Iwate beef from free-grazing cattle. "Free-grazing cattle are safer, and the meat has richer taste." He made ham, and hamburgers without using chemical additives.

But he received a call late September last year from a cattle farmer that he had dealings with. "Radioactive cesium has been detected from the beef. It's below the provisional safety limit, but what do you want to do?"

In Iwate Prefecture, the shipment of beef was halted throughout the prefecture after radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit was found in the beef produced in the prefecture. After the shipment was resumed, the prefectural government started to conduct more thorough testing on shipment. Levels of cesium were non detectable in most beef, but the beef that Anada was planning to buy was found with cesium.

Maybe it was the grass in the mountains that they ate. Sure enough, the grass was found with radioactive cesium. "My insistence on natural beef turned against me", said Anada. If he doesn't buy, this beef would be sold at a huge discount, distressing the cattle farmer with whom he had a long-standing relationship.

Starting September, he bought the beef from three cows at a regular price. He sent the samples of the meat to a testing laboratory. The result was 10 to 60 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

"I wonder if my customers still buy." The freezer in Anada's factory was filled with boxes containing this beef.

Thus ends the first installment of the series "New Happiness in Japan". It is hard not to guess what the next installments will be like. They will probably describe Anada's difficult decision to hold the event to educate the consumers, and grateful consumers who brought their own children to the event to learn what it means to be "safe" in the post-Fukushima Japan. And they lived happy ever after, the producer and the consumer, radioactive cesium or not.

Something like that.

Many Japanese people in Japan are shaking their heads in disbelief on learning about this event. They don't understand Mr. Anada, and they don't understand parents bringing their children to knowingly feed their children with cesium beef.

Update 4/26/2012 (H/T reader JAnonymous)

As I suspected above, the event was probably not free. The participants were probably charged 2,000 yen (US$25, 19 euro), if the Shinjuku event above was like the similar event in Iwate Prefecture.

From the flyer of the Iwate event in January this year by Mr. Anada:


I'm sending this email to people who shouldn't be eating cesium beef, but we are also preparing cesium-free meal, so be comforted. (laugh)

I have no idea what's so funny about it. Mr. Anada ends the flyer by this remark:


Resist the globalism that severs the local community!

(What the ... ??)


Darth3/11 said...

Well, TEPCO should buy the man's beef and remove it from the food chain. Forever, I suppose. Alas, if this happened, the beef would no doubt be BBQ'ed in the incinerators around the country, including the ones nearby my neighborhood in Tokyo. Ah, the smell of burning beef. Smells like disaster.

Thank you for translating, Ultraman.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Instead of sticking it to TEPCO, this man sticks it to his own customers, and the customers gladly eat it. Go figure.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

some of U R going to die, that is price of freedom I will provide

JAnonymous said...

After thinking a *very* long time about Japan, and living here in Tokyo a very long time too, I came to the following conclusion : Japan is the first nation ever to commit countrycide (DO NOT confuse with countryside).

National population has officially started to decrease from last year (even excluding the flyjins, it's still reducing), people don't want kids, and those who have kids either have them fed cesium (and mercury for that matter) by school, or take them to "let's eat cesium " events that make no sense. Unicef should shame those people who inflict this upon their own children.

Now to be honest, I do love this country and its people, but sometimes, I am just genuinely at a loss. Call this cultural differences if you will.

Anonymous said...

Cook with Brown's Gas to reduce radioactivity, marinade with Prussian Blue BBQ sauce, perhaps?

Cumulative effects, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Darwinism at work!

However, at least they're knowingly eating contaminated produce, rather than find out later that the 'safe' produce wasn't safe after all (like the Kagoshima beef).

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Parents may knowingly eat the beef, but having their kids to eat it is totally beyond me and a whole lot of other Japanese.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

If people only consume less than two burgers a week per year then quess what? It's still a problem. This is just wrong on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Its akin to throwing oneself and family off a cliff in Okinawa.... The Japanese are truly ignorant to allow this madness...

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Over the news like this, some Japanese people are seriously thinking they are of difference race altogether from people in the article. They are starting to say "enough of this homogenous myth".

After all, the Japanese were made up of all kinds of different races over several thousand years. The very first "constitution" in the 7th century said in the very first article, "harmony is to be praised". It now seems to mean that there were so much disharmony among people with diverse ethnic background that harmony had to be enforced by the central government.

Anonymous said...

Well the event provided free food and poor people are usually the most ill educated. Thus they flock to free food with their limited intelligence.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I don't think they were poor people. They were his customers who buy his beef by mail order. Limited intelligence that I agree. Nowhere in the article says it was free food, though.

Anonymous said...

The propaganda machine has convinced these people that low dose radiation is safe at the levels in this beef. They believe.

Those of you in the advertising industry who participated in this manipulation of health information should be ashamed. You are supporting the same kind of misinformation that tobacco companies financed for years. The next time you see an old man wheeling his oxygen canister through the station, think of why he has emphasima. Think of who hooked him on his tobacco. Think of the dozen or so of his smoking buddies who have already passed away and aren't lucky enough to be toting an oxygen canister around. Then think of what YOU are doing to Japan's children by takling money from the pro-nuclear propaganda machine.

No job is worth your soul! Repent now!

Anonymous said...

Japanese authorities must really "love" its citizens. After the finding of Mad Cow Disease in Califonia beef, Japanese authorities did not change its beef import policy with the USA. This is almost as bad as in the USA.

Anonymous said...

It's time for a GLOBAL AWAKENING and overthrow all these stewards of Death and Destruction ONCE AND FOR ALL. Enforce our own "New World Order" on these CHUMPS.

Anonymous said...

Violence or force is a non-starter nowadays. Consider Homeland Security's alleged purchase of 450 million rounds of .40 caliber Hollow-point ammunition. (outlawed by Geneva Convention)

Mohandas K. Gandhi's approach of Passive Civil Disobedience may gather the least of flies!

Why is it that i have not heard of anyone in Japan that desire to relocate to Canada? (I do remember the internment camps of the 1940's; my Respect to those victims) I like to believe that Canadian people (except Richmond, BC) would welcome all Japanese people with open arms.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Canada turned down the asylum application filed by a Japanese woman last year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding. Please forgive the barrage of questions.

Was this after the initial disaster?
Is this just one person in the past year?
What grounds was the application for asylum filed & rejected?

Have you any links to share?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anonymous said...

Domo arigato gozimashita!
(forgive my poor language skills,
this phrase i learned from the movie 'Shogun')

This is the only report i have seen to date that (unsatisfactorily) addresses this issue.
However; if this is indeed systemic, i am ashamed to be a canadian.

My ignorance betrayed me earlier. Even cooking with Brown's Gas, though it may reduce radioactivity, doesn't reduce the heavy-metal contamination.

I note that the plume of debris off of the British Columbia coast has been in the local media. They say that it is barely radioactive and represents no threat. If fish could talk, i think they would be screaming now.

Anonymous said...

PS: i have found more links that explain more. This includes audio by Dr. David Suzuki

JAnonymous said...

>> Over the news like this, some Japanese people are
>> seriously thinking they are of difference race
>> altogether from people in the article. They are
>> starting to say "enough of this homogenous myth".

I am so glad to read this from your own mouth. I was starting to despair, even though we could see a lot of japanese at the nonuke demos, what's 20'000 persons when there are 30'000'000 of them in greater Tokyo.

And don't forget, today was our own special birthday, happy birthday us, let's eat some cesium to remember chernobyl.

JAnonymous said...

Me again. I did some diggin w.r.t. the "let's eat cesium" event. So, to address the earlier post, mail order meat in Japan is usually very expensive. Much more than your local supermarket, as you are paying for perceived excellence.

It is delivered frozen, as some companies have specially equipped trucks, which is convenient for summer if you want to send cheese around ;-)

So, I did not expect this event to be free food... And it looks like it costed 2'000 yens, that is a little under 25$, to get your own fix of cesium in a similar previous meeting:

Book your seat ASAP, there were only 15 seats in January. I'd love to know how many in March in Shinjuku.

Some people argue that cesium within safety limits is OK. Since Cesium-137 is 100% man-made on Earth, I have a hard time trying to understand how 70 years of observation can substantiate a claim on some radioactive element whose activity will be one thousand times smaller in only 230 more years...

But with Cs-137, we can find out the year for Bordeaux wines, how cool is that ?

France should accept nuclear evacuees, just out of shame for areva&co.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

JAnonymous, thanks for the info. Just as I thought. This man charged the willing participants 2000 yen. He's sick.

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