Thursday, September 12, 2013

#Radioactive Japan: Fukushima Prefecture Wants to Sell Wild Mushrooms and Wild Edible Plants

While fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture have, for the most part, restrained themselves from pushing hard on resuming the commercial fishing after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, farmers are a totally different story.

They have never stopped growing vegetables, rice, fruits, mushrooms, cattle for meat, etc., and have insisted that they sell to the rest of Japan as long as the national government says they are under the safety limit (100 Bq/kg radioactive cesium). Right after the start of the nuclear accident and as radioactive fallout was descending on their land, farmers in Fukushima started tilling the land to plant.

"They have to make a living", supporters say. (Don't fishermen, too?)

But this news goes too far as far as I am concerned. Fukushima Prefecture wants to allow farmers to sell wild mushrooms and wild edible plants, which have been known to concentrate radioactive cesium. There is no specific reason given in the article why they are considering lifting the shipment restriction now, and there is no mention of the fact that these food items tend to contain high levels of radioactive cesium.

From Fukushima Minpo via Yahoo Japan (9/12/2013):

キノコ・山菜類の出荷制限解除に向けて説明会 郡山

Briefing on lifting the shipment restriction


Fukushima prefectural government held a briefing at the Prefectural Forestry Research Center in Koriyama City toward lifting the shipment restriction on mushrooms and edible wild plants that was put in place because of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The prefectural government asked the municipalities to submit data of nuclide analysis of food items submitted by citizens.


To lift the shipment restriction in a municipality, samples from three or more locations within a municipality must test below the safety standard. The national government who sets the standard is requesting Fukushima Prefecture to increase the number of samples as it is difficult to manage mushrooms cultivated outdoors, wild mushrooms and wild edible plants. The prefectural government plans to increase the number of samples and enhance the accuracy of monitoring.


The briefing was attended by about 100 managers from the municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.

The reason why the prefectural government is asking for data on a municipal level is that there is hardly any official monitoring data of wild mushrooms and wild edible plants done by the prefecture.

Come to think about it, a "shipping restriction" has not been a "shipping ban" anyway, as the prefectural government lacks will and personnel to enforce the "restriction". All the government (prefectural and municipal) officials do is to tell farmers not to sell them. Besides, the shipment restriction only means farmers are not supposed to sell either outside the municipalities they live in or outside Fukushima Prefecture.

Full of loopholes big enough to drive a farm truck through.

And the farmers cry "baseless rumors" because they cannot get the price they used to get before the accident.


Anonymous said...

Another example of the effects of capitalism.

Anonymous said...

If the government caves, it can only harm Fukushima farmers. Why?
As long as where food comes from is clearly labelled, many concerned consumers will simply not believe the government and avoid buying anything from Fukushima, period. The free market at work: leaving buyers and sellers free to make their choices. Fukushima farmers would have to accept a lower price for their goods, but somebody somewhere might be willing to take the risk.

The only way they could get "the price they used to get before the accident" is if produce is not clearly labelled as coming from Fukushima. No doubt there are groups lobbying for this (it's human nature to push for one's own interests). I sincerely hope they are not listened to.

Capitalism is a system where the means of production are privately owned. A government restriction is not an example of capitalism or of the free market. Farmers trying to get the heavy hand of government to force consumers to accept radioactive (or untested) produce is not an example of capitalism and the free market, either.

Given that the present system is not a free market one, the government's conditions ("To lift the shipment restriction in a municipality, samples from three or more locations within a municipality must test below the safety standard") are sensible, although whether they will be enough to persuade consumers is another matter. For some reason, people seem less willing than before to trust and believe the government.

A free market solution would be for the Fukushima farmers themselves to be free to try and sell their produce on the open market. Good luck with that! To convince consumers, they would need to arrange and pay for their own testing from a trustable 3rd party, but that would obviously raise the costs for producers who would have little alternative other than charging more for the produce. Or, they could cut their losses and move to a non-irradiated area, or move into another line of work, or both. But wait! There's another way! Hey! Let's get government (i.e. other people) to pay for the testing! Let's get government to lower the safety standards! Let's get government to let us sell our produce without clear labelling!! That's "capitalism"? Rrrriiiight.)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I should have written "the NATIONAL government's conditions".

Anonymous said...

The US will buy, no import restrictions for Japanese products here. No problem.

Anonymous said...

He he, FYI people in Eastern France don't pick up wild mushrooms, although it was a very common practice. Nice healthy leisure and delicacies.
Tchernobyl of course. They had them tested.


Anonymous said...

"And the farmers cry "baseless rumors" because they cannot get the price they used to get before the accident."

Denver's Chernobyl Firemen

The Ambushed Grand Jury: How the Justice Department Covered Up Government Nuclear Crime

burning plutonium and "baseless rumors"

Anonymous said...

There is not such a thing like a "free (perfect) market". Go back and read again, slowly.
If a perfect market existed competion would have eliminated all participants except a few and would have become an oligopoly or monopoly.

Anyways, mushrooms have very little nutritional value so it is easy to eliminate them from your diet altogether -- be them labeled Okinawa or Fukushima. Also because you can grow mushrooms in Okinawa on top of wood imported from Fukushima (not a joke, there was at least one case).


Anonymous said...

>mushrooms have very little nutritional value


Anonymous said...

What is the matter, aren't the people dying fast enough they have to add the wild mushrooms and other wild edible items? What about eating wild boar meat? That concentrates as well...mushrooms and wild boar...

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm...matsutake season soon--I mean-- cesium soon.

Anonymous said...

Acording to Naomi Klein's book, "now" is the time to create a ideal "free market" To keep people silent, they call the protesters "baseless rumor monger !" like the warmongers before end of the pacific war called disobedient people "HIKOKUMIN"(you do not belong to the people of Japan)

NYUltraBuddha said...

Speaking of food, check out the latest import alert on items from Japan:

Anonymous said...

Soma-Futaba and Iwaki fisheries to resume test fishing on Sep 26. Check out the location of these cities on the map, if you are not familiar with Fukushima geography. Hopefully Fuku 1 harbour is really water tight as Tepco and Abe are telling us.

Mushrooms are well known for their low caloric value and their ability to extract radioactivity from the soil. Radiophiles are welcome to enjoy them with the trial fish catch; more radionuclide conscious parents will probably select other types of vegetables, from locations other than Fukushima.

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