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Japan grows the world’s “sweetest” peach – in Fukushima

Frankly speaking you have to be either masochist or suicidal to play Russian roulette by eating those Fukushima peaches, their sweetness should never make you forget their potential radioactive contamination. There are many other countries where to buy sweet and safe peaches from.

That said I cannot believe the nerve that this journalist has to write such a “sweet” propaganda piece. I understand that these people need to make a living, but should they not consider their moral responsability towards the people whose health might be put at risk buying and eating their potentially radiation contaminated products? All done in the name of “holy reconstruction”…. There is no such a thing as a harmless low dose in internal radiation.

eight_col_ian-baldwin-f7FwHomDgzg-unsplashFifth generation peach farmer Koji Furuyama has been striving to decontaminate Fukushima’s reputation by growing the world’s sweetest peaches.

20 July 2020

Would you buy a $7000 peach? A fruit so juicy, so sweet, so perfect you just don’t care about the sticky nectar dribbling down your face?

What if it came from Fukushima, infamous for one of the worst nuclear accidents in modern memory?

Before the disaster, peaches from the area were prized for their exceptional taste and luscious texture, but on 11 March 2011 a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered one of the world’s worst accidents of the nuclear power age.

As radiation spewed from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes – some never to return.

While radiation levels have slowly dissipated, an inescapable stigma remains for the people of Fukushima.

Since then, fifth generation peach farmer Koji Furuyama has been striving to decontaminate the region’s reputation by growing the world’s sweetest peaches.

“Produce in Fukushima was recognised as the world’s most worthless and dangerous,” Koji said.

“I thought of doing the complete opposite by making the world’s most delicious or sweetest peaches.”

‘The sweetness will be from an unknown world’

There is a scientific measurement which confirms the intense sweetness of Koji’s peaches.

When you bite into a peach, you might notice if it’s sweet or tart or bland. Among farmers, this is known as Degrees Brix, and it measures the fruit’s sugar content.

The higher on the Brix scale, which goes up to 40, the sweeter the fruit.

Your average supermarket peach is usually somewhere between 11 and 15 Degrees Brix.

In comparison, the Guinness World Records certified a peach grown in Kanechika, Japan as the world’s sweetest, with a sugar content of 22.2

But on the Furuyama Fruit Farm in rural Fukushima, Koji has managed to grow a peach so sweet, it came in at a mouth-watering 32 Degrees Brix.

While Koji sold that delectably sweet peach for $7000 a few years ago, he’s not done yet.

He has already grown a peach at 35, and is now setting his sights on the most perfect peach ever, aiming to achieve that elusive 40 Degrees Brix.

“The sweetness will be from an unknown world,” he vowed.

“It will be the only one in the world. To put a price on that, I have to settle at $40,000.”

This might seem like a lot of money for something that literally grows on trees, but fruit can play a very different cultural role in Japan.

A bunch of grapes the size of Ping-Pong balls just sold for about $NZ18,500 at auction in Ishikawa on 16 July.

The pricey, individually wrapped fruits sold at department stores are precious gifts given as a sign of respect or thanks.

Going to a housewarming or visiting a friend in hospital? Grab a box of giant, blemish-free, juicy strawberries.

It’s not always just an everyday snack here, and if you pick the wrong melon without checking the price tag, you can receive quite the hip-pocket surprise when you get to the checkout.

It means Japanese farmers are meticulous in their production processes and is the reason why Koji is unyieldingly striving for perfection.

The recovery from the March 2011 disaster also gives him a reason to keep going.

A peach replaces the Olympic torch

Japan’s organisers of the 2020 Olympics won their bid with a pitch highlighting how the Games would be the “recovery games”, showing off just how far Japan’s north-eastern region had come.

The region was hosting the baseball and softball events and the prefecture was to mark the beginning of the torch relay and play a big part of it.

The food grown in this area, including Koji’s peaches, are safe to eat. He was banking on the Olympic Games showing that off.

“If this becomes known worldwide, the image of Fukushima would improve and I thought I could change it. That’s why I focus on making such sweet peaches,” Koji said.

eight_col_053_1EMPERORPEACH201507168Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit a peach farmer in Fukushima.

 

When coronavirus restrictions forced Olympics organisers to delay the torch relay, Koji still ran his leg as if the Games were going ahead. Instead of a torch, he carried a peach.

Koji holds onto hope the Games will go ahead, and Fukushima will get a chance to shine, even if it is not fully recovered.

“It’s hard to return to what it was 10 years ago, before the disaster. There are many victims who have started new lives and it’s true that it’s recovering gradually,” he said.

But once the coronavirus pandemic passes, a ‘recovery’ Olympics will take on a special meaning for everyone who survived it.

“Recovery from coronavirus will apply to people around the world,” he said.

“I think it could have a deeper meaning: recovery in [this region] and recovery from coronavirus. I am thinking in a positive way.”

Inside Fukushima’s no-go zone

Not everyone shares Koji’s optimism in Fukushima. The nuclear disaster destroyed Nobuyoshi Ito’s farming business.

He regularly visits the exclusion zones and doesn’t believe the government is surveying enough radiation hotspots.

He believes the idea of the recovery Olympics is “inappropriate”.

“Which part has recovered? When 30,000 people can return to their previous lives it’s recovery. But the government … abandoned those people,” he said.

“It’s trying to host the Olympics only with the people who have recovered.”

Around Fukushima, many of the clocks on the walls stopped ticking moments after the quake struck in 2011.

Currently, 371 square kilometres of the prefecture is a no-go zone, and parts of it will never be habitable again.

Sadao Sugishita left his home of around 70 years when the nuclear meltdown happened. He and his wife Tokuko were forced to evacuate.

Nestled in the lush green mountains, their home is in the no-go zone – inaccessible to anyone but former residents.

Every few minutes, large trucks carrying giant black bags of radioactive soil hurtle down their narrow road.

The bags sit piled up across the road from their property along with piles of rubble, a sadly iconic feature throughout this vast region.

Sugishita and his wife will never again live in their home. They’ve just agreed to tear the house down.

He doesn’t feel the prefecture has recovered.

“All our neighbours and close friends have become separate and the life in the city is completely different to the life here in the village,” he said.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/421610/japan-grows-the-world-s-sweetest-peach-in-fukushima

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Aeon aims to serve ‘eco-certified’ sushi in time for Olympics

‘Eco-certified’  my @ss, radiation contaminated sushi much more likely…. Lying lunatics!

0050b5d88f7306a71e63d89c1337ab5cA meat sushi plate is seen at Nikuzushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan

January 21, 2020

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese supermarket chain Aeon Co Ltd, Asia’s biggest retailer by sales, said it aims to start selling eco-certified sushi this year amid growing demand for sustainable seafood and in time for an expected surge in tourists during the Tokyo Olympics.

Japan is one of the world’s biggest consumers of seafood. While its consumers are known for paying a premium for high-quality food products, and for setting global food trends, Japan has lagged behind Europe and the United States in adopting policies on traceability and sustainable fisheries.

“I would say awareness has really improved in recent years,” Kinzou Matsumoto, general manager in charge of Aeon’s seafood merchandising planning, said on Tuesday as the company unveiled an expansion of its eco-certified lineup of seafood to include oysters approved by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

“Right now, certified items make up around 15% of our entire seafood products. Ideally we want to bring it to around 20%,” he said, adding that it would soon have enough types of certified fish to assemble assorted sushi packs.

“We want to sell certified sushi to visitors coming to the Olympics, too… and that would have to be by June.”

The MSC said Aeon’s scale would help expand recognition for sustainable seafood among Japanese consumers, and encourage fisheries.

“A commitment from Aeon is critical in driving change,” said MSC’s Asia-Pacific regional director Patrick Caleo.

Japanese businesses including beer makers and hotels are making preparations to cater for record numbers of foreign visitors to Japan this summer as Tokyo hosts the Olympic Summer Games beginning in late July.

Kura Sushi, among Japan’s largest conveyer belt sushi chains, is opening its biggest branch this week – a store with 272 seats expected to draw 2,000 customers a day.

It forecasts that the number of foreigners visiting its restaurants in Tokyo to rise by about a third compared to a usual year.

Kura Sushi President Kunihiko Tanaka also defended the safety of seafood in Japan, including those from Fukushima, the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Government data shows Fukushima seafood is “absolutely” safe, Tanaka said, adding that Kura Sushi planned to open a restaurant in Fukushima.

South Korea’s Olympic committee said in December that it plans to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes because of its concerns over food.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/japans-aeon-aims-serve-eco-085713242.html

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

OLYMPICS/ S. Korea to bring food, check for radiation at Tokyo Games

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December 4, 2019

SEOUL–South Korea’s Olympic committee plans to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes at the Tokyo Games because of worries local food may be contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan has posted data to show the country is safe from Fukushima radiation and many countries have lifted Fukushima-related food restrictions.

The Korea Sports & Olympic Committee (KSOC) plans to ship red pepper paste, a key ingredient in Korean dishes, and other foods, and check for radiation in meat and vegetables that can only be sourced locally due to stringent quarantine rules, a KSOC meals plan report shows.

“Apparently, ingredients and food will be transported from South Korea as much as possible, possibly including canned food,” Shin Dong-keun, a ruling Democratic Party member of the parliamentary sports committee who was recently briefed by KSOC, told Reuters in an interview.

“For this Olympic games, food is our team’s main focus so they can provide safe meals for the athletes to erase radiation worries, as opposed to in the past, food was meant to play the supplementary role of helping with their morale.”

KSOC plans to arrange local Korean restaurants to prepare meals for baseball and softball players competing in Fukushima, as shipping boxed lunches from Tokyo is not feasible, it said in the “2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Meals Support Center Plan.”

“These Korean restaurants should only handle food confirmed as radiation free,”

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, located about 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011, sparking three reactor meltdowns.

More than 160,000 residents fled nearby towns in the aftermath as radiation from the reactors contaminated water, food and air.

RADIATION HOT SPOTS

Greenpeace said on Wednesday that radiation hot spots have been found at the J-Village sports facility in Fukushima where the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin.

South Korea has stepped up demands for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima plant.

Japan is having trouble removing more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the crippled plant.

When it finalizes menus around April, the KSOC will consider asking Tokyo to ease its stringent quarantine ban on South Korean produce, an official at the committee said.

The official said South Korea was preparing a separate meals plan due to concerns from the public and politicians over food safety, unlike the United States and Australia whose athletes will mainly eat food provided by the host country, Japan.

The official requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

South Korea’s concerns about possible contamination from the nuclear disaster has become a thorn in already contentious ties with Japan.

Seoul has banned imports of seafood from Japan’s Fukushima region since the nuclear disaster, prompting Tokyo to launch a World Trade Organization complaint. Japan has said many nations such as the United States and Australia had lifted or eased Fukushima-related restrictions.

Japanese officials use international events to promote the recovery of areas hit by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster to show produce from Fukushima Prefecture is safe.

Mineral water from Fukushima was served on tables at the last month’s Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting it hosted in Nagoya.

The South Korean Olympic committee plan to purchase radiation detecting equipment by February and station an inspector at its own cafeteria in Tokyo during the games to check contamination levels, according to the KSOC report.

The budget for the Tokyo Olympics meals service is earmarked at 1.7 billion won ($1.44 million or 155 million yen), which includes twice the amount of money for buying and shipping ingredients than previous games, according to the committee.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201912040049.html?fbclid=IwAR1CWlV5oDPx_ROTX5jh4WMeFnTmh7rykUwnbPa3dPHgYGTPqZZUmicAUxo

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima persimmons to be presented to Pope

Wanting to use the Pope visit to slyly promote contaminated food….
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November 21, 2019
A Japanese Catholic from Fukushima Prefecture plans to present local specialty persimmons to Pope Francis during his visit to Japan from Saturday.
Chuichi Ozawa from Koriyama City has been granted an audience with the pontiff next week.
As a member of the Koriyama Catholic Church, Ozawa has worked to support people affected by the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Ozawa proposed presenting Aizu-mishirazu persimmons to the Pope to help dispel concerns about the safety of Fukushima produce due to the accident.
The Vatican Embassy in Tokyo accepted the offer.
The persimmons are known for their creamy texture and refreshing sweetness.
Ozawa visited a farmer in the Aizu region on Thursday and received more than 50 persimmons specially chosen for their colors and shapes.
He plans to bring the fruit to the embassy on Friday.
Ozawa says if the Pope eats the persimmons, it will lift the spirits of Fukushima farmers.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

EU to ease Japanese food import restrictions

Tokyo continues its behind the cloak diplomatic negotiations to export its contaminated  food products to unknowing populations…
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October 30, 2019
The European Union says it will partially ease import restrictions from mid-November on some Japanese food products. The EU has been requiring radiation tests for certain goods since the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The European Commission says from November 14, it will remove all restrictions on agricultural and fisheries products from Iwate, Tochigi, and Chiba prefectures.
It will also end testing requirements on some products from several other regions.
But regulations will continue to affect certain items from nine prefectures. They include some marine products and wild plants from Fukushima.
Japanese government officials say they will call on the EU to remove the remaining restrictions.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

International Olympic Committee President confirms Japan’s food products are safe

Business is business, never mind people’s health….A question though, did Abe’s government paid an additional bribe for this declaration or was it included in the first bribe paid to get the Olympics to Tokyo as an all included package deal?
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IOC chief to confirm Japan’s food products are safe
 
September 24, 2019
New York – International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach intends to assure participants of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics that Japanese food products are safe following the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.
He conveyed his intentions to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York after two international organizations announced last year that the products are adequately managed, the ministry said.
A joint team of the International Atomic Energy Association and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in June last year that inspections for radioactive substances and distribution management of food from Japan were adequate, according to the ministry.
Bach told Abe he would inform the participating countries of the 2020 games of this view, the ministry said.
This comes after South Korea announced last month that it would double the number of samples and frequency of inspections for radioactive substances on some processed foods and agricultural products from Japan.
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The move by the South Korean government marks a tightening of measures first implemented following a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Abe and Bach also agreed to jointly seek the adoption later this year of a U.N. resolution calling for a truce during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.
It is customary for the United Nations to adopt a truce resolution before the summer and winter games and Tokyo has been leading preparations for a new one as host of the upcoming sporting events.
Bach was quoted by the Japanese Foreign Ministry as telling Abe that he will work with Tokyo to have the resolution co-sponsored by as many countries as possible.
Abe and Bach also reaffirmed they will continue to work closely together to make the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a success, the ministry said.
The Japanese leader also met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II over dinner and expressed Tokyo’s intention to help alleviate the country’s burden in accepting refugees from neighboring Syria. The two welcomed the strengthening of bilateral ties in security, economic and other areas, according to the ministry.
 
 
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International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach
 
IOC chief to confirm Japan’s food products are safe after 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster
 
 
September 24, 2019
NEW YORK (Kyodo) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach intends to assure participants of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics that Japanese food products are safe following the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.
He conveyed his intentions to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York after two international organizations announced last year that the products are adequately managed, the ministry said.
A joint team of the International Atomic Energy Association and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in June last year that inspections for radioactive substances and distribution management of food from Japan were adequate, according to the ministry.
Bach told Abe he would inform the participating countries of the 2020 games of this view, the ministry said.
This comes after South Korea announced last month that it would double the number of samples and frequency of inspections for radioactive substances on some processed foods and agricultural products from Japan.
The move by the South Korean government marks a tightening of measures first implemented following a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

September 26, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Strawberry shipments start from formerly evacuated Fukushima town

From the Yomiuri Shimbun, a pro-government media… All part of the continous propaganda media campaign by the national and local governments, to incite the people to buy and eat claimed-to-be-safe Fukushima products.

 

fjjklmlm.jpgFukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori, right, and others taste freshly picked strawberries in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday.

 

 

August 20, 2019

IWAKI, Fukushima — Strawberries started being shipped Monday from Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, a town that was given an evacuation order following the nuclear power plant disaster in 2011, although the order was partially lifted this April.

To mark the occasion, authorities and guests were invited to a strawberry tasting event and a tour of a strawberry cultivation facility in the town.

The facility, measuring about 28,800 square meters, was built in the town’s Ogawara district after the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It is operated by a semipublic company sponsored by the town.

The facility is installed with waist-high planters that allow workers to stand up when working.

The latest computerized equipment to control room temperature, water temperature and water volume makes it possible to grow strawberries throughout the year.

Two machines to assess radioactive material in fruit were also introduced at the facility.

About 10 tons of strawberries are scheduled to be shipped from the facility this fiscal year. The operator intends to increase the annual shipment to 100 tons in the future.

https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005950919

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Governor Promotes Fukushima Foods in Hong Kong

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Jan 26, 2019
Hong Kong, Jan. 26 (Jiji Press)–Masao Uchibori, governor of Fukushima Prefecture, has promoted the safety of foods from the northeastern Japan prefecture, home to a heavily damaged nuclear plant, during his visit to Hong Kong that started on Thursday.
Hong Kong introduced restrictions on food imports from the prefecture after a triple meltdown occurred at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, which was knocked out by tsunami from the March 2011 powerful earthquake.
Uchibori is the first Fukushima governor to visit Hong Kong after the natural and nuclear disasters for the promotion of foods produced in the prefecture.
During the stay, Uchibori met with officials of an industry association related to Japanese foods.
He also paid a courtesy call on a senior Hong Kong government official in charge of import regulations.

February 3, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

China, Fukushima and inflatable poop: how Taiwan got frozen out of Asia’s biggest trade deal

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19 January, 2019
The eleven members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will be meeting for the first time since it came into force at the end of last year
Taiwan’s entry has been blocked by China and clashes with the US and Japan over food imports, experts say
Taiwan will be looking on enviously as trade officials meet in Tokyo this weekend to discuss expanding one of the world’s largest free trade agreements (FTA).
The eleven members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will be meeting for the first time since it came into force at the end of last year.
And while many potential new entrants – including Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand – are high on the agenda, Taiwan faces an uphill struggle for admission.
Its diplomatic stand-off with China has left it frozen out of most multilateral organisations. The fact that many nations refuse to recognise its nationhood means it does not have a seat at the United Nations, for instance.
Many suspect that Beijing is also blocking its membership in the CPTPP, which consists of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, and which the Taiwanese government is desperate to join.
China’s influence also means Taiwan has struggled to sign FTAs with other countries, despite being a relatively open economy, compared to some of those under consideration in the CPTPP.
“They are – by far – the most prepared, and even adjusted their domestic laws for intellectual property to match CPTPP rules already,” said Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, a free market lobby group.
Taiwan currently has only a handful of free trade deals, with mainly peripheral economies: Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, New Zealand, Paraguay and Singapore.
Most of those were signed when it was under the rule of the Kuomintang (KMT) and so on friendlier terms with China.
“Taiwan has been struggling to conclude some FTAs for many years because China’s good at blocking them at the diplomatic level,” said John Marrett, Asia analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
“If Taiwan joined, it would be the signatory in most dire need of joining. Many of those involved have deals with one third or one half of the other nations already under their belt in bilateral or multilateral terms,” he said.
“The impetus is not as strong as for Taiwan. It’s a massive deal for Taiwan, so you can understand why they’ve put so much effort into this, and they’re ready to go. But they’ve got this massive issue of China blocking its entry,” Parrett added.
Compare that with Hong Kong, which is likely to conclude an FTA with the Asean group of 10 nations this year, is negotiating with the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru), and which already has deals with Australia and New Zealand.
“Whether it is in the benefit of Hong Kong to enter into the CPTPP because it does not have an FTA or plan to forge an FTA with Canada [the only CPTPP country it has yet to negotiate with] maybe we have other priorities,” said Louis Chan, assistant principal economist at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
The Taiwanese premier, Lai Ching-te told local media last year that the difficulties facing Taiwan’s accession are “completely because of China’s political obstacles”.
This view was confirmed by former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop, who told Fairfax Media that China had blocked a potential FTA between Australia and Taiwan.
“The Chinese government made it clear to me that circumstances had changed between Taiwan and mainland China and that China would not look favourably on Australia seeking to pursue an FTA with Taiwan,” she said.
For a new country to join the CPTPP, all the member nations must agree. For a small nation such as Brunei, one of the CPTPP-11, it may be difficult to face down any pressure from Beijing.
In an email exchange, Andrés Rebolledo a trade economist who, until last year, served as the energy minister of Chile, told the South China Morning Post that “in a scenario in which these economies [Hong Kong and Taiwan] request to enter, the member countries of CPTPP-11 should also consider the impact on their relationship with China”.
However, China is not the only hurdle facing Taiwan in joining the world’s third largest trade deal, which is being gradually ratified by its member states, with Vietnam the latest to pass it into law.
When the US dumped the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after Donald Trump’s election, there were hopes that it might lower the barriers to entry for Taiwan.
The two countries have clashed repeatedly on trade and investment negotiations, particularly over agriculture.
Taiwan (along with other Asian nations) banned US beef imports after traces of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE – also known as “Mad Cow Disease”) were found in American cattle.
The ban was lifted in 2016, but US pork remains under an embargo, due to the use of ractopamine, an additive commonly fed to US livestock. The bans have angered generations of US trade officials, who have found negotiating with their Taiwanese counterparts challenging, but it looks unlikely that Taiwan will budge on pork.
One US trade delegation was greeted in Taiwan by protesting farmers, brandishing a big inflatable poop, said a former trade negotiator, speaking on background.
“The farmers control trade policy and Taiwan has very crazy farmers just like Korea, Japan, the US and the EU,” the official recalled.
The US’ exit made Japan the most significant economy in the CPTPP, but it has also clashed with Taiwan over agricultural products.
In November, Taiwan voted in a referendum to uphold a ban on food imports from the areas around the Fukushima nuclear plant site, infuriating the Japanese government.
The Japanese foreign minister said the results were “extremely disappointing”, and it’s expected that this could also hold up Taiwan’s progress toward joining the CPTPP.
Such “trade irritants” are viewed as “standard operating procedure” in Taiwan by the US source.
A Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told local press this week that the government will be watching the Tokyo round closely.
“We are continuing our talks with Tokyo to convince them that the food ban issue and Taiwan’s inclusion in the CPTPP should be discussed separately,” they said.
But all the signs suggest that for the foreseeable future, Taiwan will continue to look on from the outside.

January 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan Food Imports from Fukushima-Affected Areas Become Wedge Issue with Japan

Japanese government keeps on trying to ram food exports from Fukushima radiation affected areas down the throats of their Asian neighbors ….
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Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe
December 17, 2018
IT IS UNSURPRISING that Taiwan will not be admitted to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CFTPP) because of the referendum vote against food imports from Fukushima-affected areas held in late November concurrent with nine-in-one elections. Namely, the issue of food imports is one upon which Taiwan has long been pushed around by larger, more powerful countries, who dangle the threat of being denied admittance to international free trade agreements if Taiwan does not allow food imports.
The Abe administration has in the past made allowing food imports from Fukushima-affected areas a condition for stronger diplomatic relations with Japan. This would be part of a more general effort by the Abe administration to promote the prefecture of Fukushima as safe, with concerns that lingering radiation may still cause harmful effects in the region after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Abe administration has thus attempted to promote food exports from the area, as well as to encourage tourism to the area.
Concerns over whether food from Fukushima is safe are valid, seeing as this is an issue of contention in Japan itself. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is deeply wedded to the Japanese nuclear industry, with an unusual willingness to push for nuclear energy in spite of outbreaks of large-scale public protest. Concerns have also been longstanding that the LDP has been unwilling to provide accurate nuclear assessments for the Fukushima area, or sought to mislead through official statistics.
After the results of the referendum in late November, in which 7,791,856 voted against allowing food imports from Fukushima, the Japanese government initially expressed understanding regarding the results of the referendum, suggesting that not allowing food imports from Fukushima would not be an obstacle for Japan-Taiwan relations going forward. However, this appears to have not entirely been the truth.
Indeed, as the KMT was a powerful force behind the push for the referendum, it is likely that the KMT sought to use the issue of food imports from Fukushima-affected areas as a means to not only to attack the DPP with the accusation that it was endangering public safety but also sabotage closer relations between Japan and Taiwan. Apart from that the KMT’s Chinese nationalism has a strong anti-Japanese element, the KMT is pro-unification and so opposes closer ties between Japan and Taiwan, seeing as Japan could be a powerful regional ally that interceded on behalf of Taiwan against Chinese incursion.
The CFTPP is a regional free trade agreement that is the form that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) took on after America withdrew from the trade agreement under Donald Trump. Despite the fact that the TPP was orchestrated under American auspices as a means to counter growing Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region, the Trump administration favored protectionism instead of free trade, seeing free trade as overextending American resources rather than expanding its economic reach.
Japan subsequently became the dominant power among former TPP signatories, continuing to push for the agreement because it was still beneficial to Asia-Pacific nations to economically integrate as a regional bloc against the threat of China.
This would not be the first time that food imports have been used as a condition of Taiwan’s admittance to or denial from the TPP framework. America previously made allowing American beef imports into Taiwan to be a condition of Taiwan’s possibly entering into the TPP, seeing as there were in concerns in Taiwan that the use of the hormone ractopamine—banned in most of the world’s countries but not in America—was unsafe. This, too, was a valid concern regarding food safety, but the KMT was interested in the issue because it hoped to use this as a wedge issue to sabotage relations between Taiwan and the US.
Now that Japan is the primary driving force behind the CFTPP, as the renewed version of the TPP, food imports from Fukushima-affected areas have taken priority as the issue which would determine Taiwan’s admittance or non-admittance to the CFTPP. As free trade agreements are more generally a way for large, powerful countries to coerce smaller, weaker countries into relations of economic subordination, this would be nothing surprising.
More generally, free trade agreements have also long been held over the heads of Taiwanese voters in order to influence how they vote, as observed in the examples of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement or the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement under the Ma administration. But in light of the issue of food imports from Fukushima-affected areas being a contested issue in Taiwan, it remains to be seen whether the CFTPP will become a significant wedge issue in Taiwanese politics going forward.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment

Korean distributors halt sales of instant noodles from Fukushima due to unnerved customers

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Korean distributors halt sales of instant noodles from Fukushima
 Dec 5, 2018
 
Korean retailers Homeplus and Wemakeprice have discontinued sales of Fukushima-imported instant noodles after the product’s place of origin label stirred up health concerns.
 
Otaru Shio Ramen — produced in Fukushima, Japan, and imported to Korea by Homeplus and Wemakeprice — has Fukushima printed as the area of production in Japanese. However, the Korean label specifies only Japan as the place of origin, prompting some consumers to point out that the translated label is misleading and takes away freedom of choice for those who do not know Japanese.
 
 
Some Koreans have reservations about products imported from Fukushima following a nuclear meltdown during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.
 
Homeplus, which sold the product through its offline stores, said, “Otaru Shio Ramen is produced in Kitakata city factory, located over 100 kilometers from the area of the nuclear disaster. The product has no problems, as it has gone thorough radiation inspection.” 
 
The company said the instant noodles do not cause health problems, but discontinued sales in response to concerns. 
 
Wemakeprice, which sold Otaru Shio Ramen through its online channels, deleted the item from its website as of Tuesday night. It had sold just 10 packets before deleting the item. 
 
The company said, “The product went through a radiation inspection before being imported, and no health-related problems were found. However, we decided to discontinue the product in response to consumers’ demands.”
 
Instant noodles imported from Fukushima unnerve consumers
 December 6, 2018 
WeMakePrice and Homeplus were found to have sold instant noodles produced in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, raising food safety concerns among consumers.
 
Fukushima is the northeastern part of Japan’s Honshu Island, contaminated by radioactivity following the explosions of reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.
 
According to industry officials Wednesday, the two retailers had sold the made-in-Fukushima “Otaru Shio Ramen” until early this week.
 
But they decided to take the instant noodles off shelves as consumers discovered product information written in Japanese shows the manufacturer is located in Fukushima.
 
The product information written in Korean only says it was made in Japan.
 
After the revelation, angry consumers claimed the retailers tried to deceive those who cannot read Japanese.
 
“I hurriedly canceled my purchase before its delivery. I might have been a guinea pig,” said a consumer, who had bought the instant noodles from WeMakePrice.
 
The companies emphasized the safety of the product, but said they decided to stop selling it to reassure their customers.
 
“The instant noodles were produced at a factory in a Fukushima city of Kitakata, which is located over 100 kilometers from the contaminated region,” a Homeplus official said. “The product also underwent a radioactivity check before its import, and it was found to be safe.”
 
The discount chain also refuted criticisms that the retailers tried to deceive consumers.
 
“According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s guidelines, the product information does not need to include the specific place of origin. It just needs to include the country of origin,” the official said.
 
The government has banned the import of agricultural and marine products from Fukushima, but it still allows the import of processed foods from the prefecture, if their importers get certification.
 
Moreover, Korea may be brought to the World Trade Organization (WTO) if it prohibits the import of made-in-Fukushima foods without any scientific reason.
 
Japan is seeking to file a complaint with the WTO against Taiwan which held a referendum recently and decided to ban the import of agricultural products from Fukushima.
 
Korean consumers, however, demand the right to know the specific place of origin at least, if the government cannot ban the overall import of products from Fukushima.
 
Amid the growing concerns, they have begun filing online petitions on the Cheong Wa Dae website to urge the government to demand retailers specify the exact place of origin of food products.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Is pushing contaminated product and poisoning people the ‘right’ path to Fukushima reconstruction?

The South Koreans did not want their food and banned it. The WHO and the UN upheld that they would import food from Fukushima. One of the guiding factors was that the US imports the Fukushima food. How much deeper can corruption go when it is all about the economy?

“Fascism should not be defined by the number of victims but by the way they were killed”. Jean-Paul Sartre

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Fukushima group holds food campaign in Brussels
December 3, 2018
BRUSSELS (Jiji Press) — People from Fukushima Prefecture living in Europe have started in earnest to campaign in Brussels to dispel concerns about foods from the northeastern prefecture following the 2011 nuclear crisis there.
The move by groups of Fukushima people in Britain and three other European countries, excluding Belgium, comes as the European Union maintains import restrictions on some Fukushima food products more than seven years after the meltdown at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.
As part of the campaign, sake brands from across Fukushima were served to guests at an event to celebrate the Emperor’s 85th birthday on Dec. 23, held by the Japanese Embassy in Belgium in late November.
The Fukushima groups and the prefectural government ran a joint booth at the celebratory event, offering more than 10 local sake brands while showcasing progress on reconstruction in Fukushima after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
The sake brands included Adatara Ginjo of Okunomatsu Sake Brewery Co., based in Nihonmatsu in the prefecture, which won the top sake award in the 2018 International Wine Challenge competition.
The Fukushima sake brands were well received by guests including foreign government and company officials, according to Japanese sources.
The groups of Fukushima people aim to strengthen direct lobbying of the EU to abolish the import restrictions, planning to set up a similar group in Belgium, where the EU is headquartered.
“We’ve renewed our recognition that it’s necessary to give information about postdisaster reconstruction more actively, while promoting sake and fruit [from Fukushima],” said Yoshio Mitsuyama, who heads the British group of Fukushima people

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cloud of suspicion in China over rice from near Japan’s nuclear meltdown zone

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December 2, 2018
Beijing has lifted a ban on rice imports from Niigata prefecture, neighbouring the Fukushima disaster area, but consumers will take some convincing to buy it
The Chinese authorities may be ready to lift a ban on importing rice from a Japanese prefecture neighbouring a nuclear disaster site but Chinese consumers might need more convincing.
China’s General Administration of Customs announced on Wednesday that it had lifted a ban on rice imports from Niigata, one of a number of prefectures neighbouring Fukushima, home to the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which went into meltdown and released radioactive material in the aftermath of a tsunami in March 2011.
According to the World Health Organisation, radioactive iodine and caesium in concentrations above the Japanese regulatory limits were detected in some food commodities soon after the disaster.
China responded by banning imports of food and livestock feed from 10 prefectures.
More than seven years later, Niigata is the first area to have the ban lifted on its rice. “After evaluation, we permit Niigata rice to be imported,” the customs administration said on its website.
It said the rice was produced in the prefecture and processed in registered factories, and that when imported it should satisfy Chinese laws and regulations on food safety and plant health.
 
But Chinese internet users weren’t so convinced.
“The officials would rather sacrifice Chinese people’s health for diplomacy,” one person said on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
“Whoever wants to buy the rice can buy it,” another wrote. “I only ask for it to be properly marked on the packaging.”
In all, 54 countries and regions imposed temporary import bans on Japanese food from affected areas immediately after the nuclear disaster. Since then, 27 have lifted their restrictions and Fukushima prefecture shipped 210 tonnes of agricultural products abroad last year, mainly to Malaysia and Thailand.
It follows a years-long clean-up effort and a concerted campaign by the Japanese government to promote agricultural products from Fukushima and neighbouring regions, both domestically and internationally.
A page on the Japanese government website, titled “Fukushima Foods: Safe and Delicious”, is dedicated to the clean-up and monitoring efforts and features photos of farmers encouraging tourists to try their rice, vegetables and fruit.
Hopes that the ban would be eased grew as relations between the two countries thawed. An agreement was reached in March to hold talks in Tokyo between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after which Fukushima officials told the South China Morning Post they hoped Beijing would reopen the door to exports of agricultural and fisheries products. Those prospects rose in late October with the first visit to China by a Japanese prime minister in seven years.
There were grass-roots efforts, too. Last week, a group of Chinese reporters led by Xu Jingbo, from the Tokyo-based, Chinese-language Asia News Agency, quietly visited northeast Japan, stopping in disaster-hit areas including Fukushima.
Xu told the South China Morning Post he had organised the trip because he wanted there to be fair coverage of food safety and the Fukushima nuclear clean-up.
“We should look at the Fukushima nuclear leak in a scientific and fair way,” he said.
The group visited the power station and government centres that test radiation residues on agricultural products and seafood. He said that since the accident, the Japanese government had cleaned up debris and contaminated soil, digging 30cm into the earth and transporting the soil to a remote area for treatment.
“The radiation level tested on my body was only 0.03 millisieverts after the visit, about 1/80 of taking a CAT scan in hospital and about the same level as riding on an aeroplane,” Xu said.
But lingering fear and opposition in China and neighbouring regions remains strong. Last week, voters in Taiwan showed overwhelming support for keeping a ban on food imports.
On the Chinese mainland, every movement towards lifting the ban has provoked hostility online.
Xu’s Weibo account was flooded with comments, calling him a “traitor”. Some questioned whether he received money from the Japanese government for such “propaganda”.
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An article published on the WeChat account Buyidao, operated by the state-run Global Times, questioned the Japanese government and media, saying they had covered up the severity of the radiation in Fukushima and dealt with the clean-up irresponsibly.
“Tokyo Electric Power [the owner of the plant] and the Japanese government have not been honest with the Japanese people and the world, the panic runs inside Japan and has permeated to other countries,” it said.
On the rice ban lifted this week, Guo Qiuju, a radiation expert at Peking University’s physics department, said the Chinese government had its own standard and detection methods.
“China has strict levels on radiation levels detected in foods; if it’s detected below a certain level, it can be assumed to be safe,” she said.
But public concerns persist.
A shopper at Alibaba’s Hema Xiansheng supermarket in Shenzhen she said she probably would not buy any products from the affected areas even if the ban was completely lifted. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
“I’m afraid of what might happen to me,” she said.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima farmers see need to better publicize ‘food safety’

 

hggjhVegetables produced in Fukushima Prefecture are withdrawn from the shelves of a supermarket in the city of Fukushima on March 23, 2011

 

November 25, 2018
FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) — Farmers and fishermen in Fukushima called for further efforts to convince the public that their food is safe to eat on Sunday after Taiwan decided to maintain its import ban on Japanese food from areas affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Taiwan’s public voted in a referendum Saturday to maintain the ban on agricultural products and other food from Fukushima and four other prefectures.
“All we can do is to work harder until people understand that our products are safe,” said Masao Koizumi, a rice farmer in Fukushima.
The prefectural government of Fukushima has been conducting radiation checks on all rice produced in the prefecture. Since 2015, all shipments cleared the screening, with radioactive cesium levels below the 100-becquerel-per-kilogram limit set by the central government.
“When people see the inspection readings, they will know that there is no threat of radioactive materials,” Koizumi said.
Tetsu Nozaki, the head of an association representing fishery cooperatives in the prefecture, said, “We are disappointed, but we just need to make sure that we keep communicating the safety of our products.”
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181125/p2g/00m/0dm/049000c

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan votes to maintain ban on food from Fukushima disaster areas

 

yfujgjkgkihk.jpgIn this file photo dated Aug. 27, 2018, senior officials of the Kuomintang, Taiwan’s major political party, hold a press conference in Taipei to state their opposition to lifting a ban on food imports from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures. The banners read “oppose nuclear food.” (Mainichi/Shizuya Fukuoka)

TAIPEI (Kyodo) — A referendum on maintaining a ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures, imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, saw the restrictions kept in place on Saturday, dealing a major blow to the government of President Tsai Ing-wen and the island’s relations with Japan.
For a referendum to deliver a decisive result in Taiwan, the “yes” vote must account for more than 25 percent of the electorate, or about 4.95 million voters.
The Central Election Commission website showed that more than 15 million of the 19.76 million eligible voters cast their ballots. More than 6 million voters approved the initiative, well over the 25 percent required.
The referendum is legally binding and government agencies must take necessary action.
The result dealt a significant blow to the Democratic Progressive Party government which proposed easing the ban after coming to power in May 2016, but backed away when the main opposition Nationalist Party (KMT) questioned the new government’s ability to ensure the safety of the imported products.
Government officials responsible for the policy declined to comment on Sunday, only saying it is a matter for President Tsai to decide.
Tsai announced her resignation as DPP leader on Saturday following her party’s disastrous defeat in key mayoral elections that day, races viewed as indicators of voter sentiment ahead of the next presidential and island-wide legislative elections in 2020.
Some worry that the result of the referendum on Japanese food imports will have a negative impact on the island’s relations with Japan. Taiwan’s representative to Japan, Frank Hsieh, said the initiative was a KMT scheme aimed at undermining bilateral relations between Taiwan and Japan at a time when the two are seeking closer ties as a way of protecting themselves from an increasingly belligerent China.
He also warned that if the referendum is successful, Taiwan would pay “a grave price” that will affect all its people.
China is the only other country still restricting comprehensive imports from Fukushima Prefecture and nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi, and Chiba prefectures.
The referendum, initiated by the KMT, was one of 10 initiatives put to a vote in conjunction with Saturday’s island-wide local elections.
Voters approved two other referendums initiated by the KMT. One sought to stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants or the expansion of existing ones, and the other asked voters if they wanted to phase out thermal power plants.
Beijing will be happy about the result of a referendum on the name the island uses when competing at international sports events. It had sought to change the name used to participate in future international events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan.”
The CEC website showed that more than 8.9 million cast their ballots. About 3 million of the eligible voters approved the initiative, less the 25 percent needed for the referendum to count.
The referendum was highly unpopular among athletes, who were worried that a successful outcome would hamper their right to compete, as the International Olympic Committee resolved in May that it would stand by a 1981 agreement that Taiwanese athletes must compete as “Chinese Taipei.”
The IOC had also warned that Taiwan would risk having its recognition suspended or cancelled if the referendum was successful.
China was annoyed by the proposal and pressured the East Asian Olympic Committee to revoke Taichung’s plan to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games.
Beijing said that if the referendum was successful, it would not sit idly by and would “definitely respond,” without elaborating.
There were also five referendums relating to same-sex marriage — three initiated by opponents of same-sex marriage and two by supporters.
The CEC website showed that all three of the anti-same sex marriage initiatives passed, while both the pro-same sex marriage referenda failed.
The result also puts the Tsai government in an awkward position as Taiwan’s highest court, the Council of Grand Justices, ruled 18 months ago that the government must, within two years, amend the Civil Code or enact a special law legalizing gay marriage.
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181125/p2g/00m/0in/010000c?fbclid=IwAR0ZlvV-JO_PHes83Gn8mutF6jKkFBzyx6iAYPJPw_2FA-tSqx3W71k9y2c

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment