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China must exercise caution in lifting ban on import of Japanese food

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According to Kyodo News Agency, China and Japan recently held talks on whether to ease or lift the ban on food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, with the Chinese government offering to set up a working group on the issue. There has been no official confirmation from the Chinese side.
 
The earthquake, which rocked Japan in March, 2011, caused a radiation leak from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station after which the Chinese government immediately banned food from Japanese prefectures surrounding the facility. Neither Beijing nor Tokyo has released any statement on lifting the ban, yet the Kyodo News Agency report attracted wide attention.
 
Since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in late 2012, rebuilding people’s confidence in affected areas both at home and abroad has become his major task. During the lower house election in 2014, Abe tasted grilled fish in Fukushima. When Britain’s Prince William visited Japan in 2015, Abe invited him to visit Fukushima and enjoy local food with ingredients from local producers. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono brought Fukushima peach juice to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during his visit to the UK in December 2017.
 
The Abe administration has been proactively promoting the safety of Fukushima food on public occasions, with little success. According to research revealed by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute in 2016, many people are feeling more anxious about radiation in Fukushima. According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, China, the US, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and other countries have kept their bans on importing food produced in some regions or sometimes from the whole country. This has been an awkward reality for Abe’s administration.
 
It remains to be seen whether the working group will be eventually established. But it is an indisputable fact that Abe’s administration has repeatedly requested the Chinese government to lift the ban on food imports over the past few years. For example, during the agricultural vice-ministerial meeting in Beijing in 2016, the Japanese side had hoped that China will remove food import restrictions. However, China did not give any specific reply. When Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, visited Beijing in December last year, he also expressed his wish of easing the import ban to the head of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
 
It can be argued that China is Japan’s primary destination for food exports from affected areas including Fukushima. This is not only because China has a huge market, but also because any Chinese move will be likely followed by other Asian countries.
 
With recent improvements in Sino-Japanese ties, the possibility of setting up a special working group cannot be ruled out. However, even if the group is established, Beijing may not completely lift import restrictions on Japanese food. On the one hand, the key to lifting the ban lies in whether food products from Japan can meet Chinese standards. On the other, Chinese people’s doubts over the food in the affected areas also play a crucial role. Even if imported food from Japan’s disaster-affected region passed Chinese tests, it is not very likely to appear on Chinese dining tables given the distrust of the Chinese public.
 
China and Japan are lately cooperating in a number of fields including economy and politics. Import and export of agricultural products is a vital link in the cooperation trail. According to a Xinhua report in March, some food from Japan’s affected areas was flowing to China via e-commerce platforms, posing a severe safety risk to Chinese consumers. Therefore, when it comes to lifting the ban on food from disaster affected areas, China should exercise caution. Political interaction is important, but people’s well-being is above all.
By Chen Yang Source:Global Times Published
The author is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Sociology at Toyo University.
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January 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Safety of Fukushima food known less overseas

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A survey by Japanese researchers shows that many overseas consumers still worry about the safety of food from the disaster-hit region of Fukushima, and are unaware of measures taken to ensure its safety.
 
The researchers from Fukushima University and the University of Tokyo conducted the online survey of 10 countries and regions. They include China, South Korea, the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan.
 
About 30 percent of Japanese consumers said they worry about food from Fukushima. This compares to 80 percent in Taiwan, 70 percent in South Korea, and 60 percent in China.
 
The survey also found that 30 to 50 percent of people in the countries worry about food from all of eastern Japan.
 
Asked if they know that all rice from Fukushima goes through radiation tests, 30 percent of Chinese consumers said yes. The figure was 10 percent for South Korea, Britain and Germany.
 
Sample testing for vegetables and fruit from Fukushima and surrounding areas are known to 20 percent of overseas consumers.
 
An import ban and other restrictions on farm and marine products from Fukushima are still in place mainly in countries and regions in Asia, more than 6 years after the nuclear accident.
 
University of Tokyo researcher Naoya Sekiya says a ‘lack of knowledge’ has resulted in the prolonged import restrictions. He said there’s a need to publicize that ‘utmost safety checks’ are being conducted.

 

 

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December 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Testimony of a mother who evacuated from Tokyo

Listen to her testimony (in English).
She evacuated from Tokyo to Kobe in west Japan to protect her daughter.
The contamination does not stop at the Fukushima department border. Tokyo is also contaminated.

 

 
Transcription (note 1):
I am standing here to tell you that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe is not over.
I evacuated to Kansai (note2), three years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.
Where do you think I evacuated from?
I evacuated from Tokyo!
Do you know that Tokyo has serious radioactive contamination?
Tens of millions of people in east Japan live with radioactive contamination now.
I have a daughter who was 5 years old at the time of the accident.
She became very sick one year after the accident.
In fact, my daughter became so sick that she could not live a normal life at all.
However, when she stayed in a place where there was no radioactive contamination, my daughter became so well. But when we returned to Tokyo, my daughter became sick again.
We did not have the option to stay in Tokyo, we just fled from Tokyo and came here.
Living in east Japan means living with many radioactive materials, and it is not a place where people can live healthily.
We are calling for evacuation to west Japan.
We are evacuees from eastern Japan.
Our existence will not be broadcasted on radio waves or published in newspapers. So, I am telling you about it now.
After the accident, we were told that radiation was not a problem, health damages would not occur.
But it was not true.
Many of us have evacuated from east to west due to various health problems.
Many people are getting sick today in east Japan.
People are dying without noticing that it is due to radiation.
Many Japanese can not face this nuclear catastrophe.
Please try to know what is going on in Japan now.
We are telling the world that the nuclear disaster is far from being over.
 
 
Note 1: We thank Ms Yoko Chase for her proofreading of the text prepared by Ms Yoko Shimozawa.
Note 2: The region in west Japan, including large cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

New Study: Over a Trillion becquerels of Fukushima radiocesium fell on Hawaii

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University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Oct 31, 2017
Fukushima-derived radiocesium fallout in Hawaiian soils… This study estimated the magnitude of cesium deposition in soil, collected in 2015-2016, resulting from atmospheric fallout… Detectable, Fukushima-derived 134Cs inventories ranged from 30 to 630 Bq m-2 and 137Cs inventories ranged from 20 to 2200 Bq m-2… This research confirmed and quantified the presence of Fukushima-derived fallout in the state of Hawai’i in amounts higher than predicted by models and observed in the United States mainland…
The Hawaiian Islands were expected to get minimal, below 10 Bq m-2 or lower, of Fukushima-derived fallout…
Fukushima-derived soil radiocesium concentrations, were greater than anticipated based on model-predicted Pacific atmospheric dispersion rates…
Maximum estimated values of 134Cs fallout on the islands of Hawaii and O’ahu constrained by precipitation and data from sites with less than 70% canopy cover were obtained by linear interpolation of all measured soil cesium concentrations, resulting in 134Cs fallout ranging from < 60 to 1000 Bq m-2 [According to this study, “The Fukushima-derived fallout… 134Cs to 137Cs ratio was 1:1” — therefore 137Cs fallout from Fukushima was also 60 to 1000 Bq m-2, making the total radiocesium 120 to 2000 Bq m-2. Compare this to the study’s previous statement that “The Hawaiian Islands were expected to get minimal, below 10 Bq m-2 or lower, of Fukushima-derived fallout”]…
Using the conservative values and integrating over the whole area with rainfall above 200 mm, we estimate that the island of Hawaii received 1.50 x 10^12 Bq [1.5 Trillion Bq] of 134Cs and 137Cs, each isotope contributing 50%, between March 19 and April 4, 2011…
Atmospheric dispersion models predicted the majority of the plume to travel a more northern route over the Aleutian Islands… however, suggesting that the Fukushima-derived aerosol plume may have taken an alternative southern path. Our radiocesium fallout inventories are comparatively higher than those estimated and measured in North America. Previous research that used whole-water wet deposition to predict ‘its fallout in North America estimated up to 180 Bq m -2 in Alaska, 46 Bq m -2 in California, and 29 Bq m -2 in Washington State…
This is the first study to our knowledge studying Fukushima-derived fallout in the Pacific Islands…
Fukushima-derived radiocesium fallout in Hawaiian soils

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

Activists call on artists to join protests against 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

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The idea of the Olympics as a sporting event complemented by culture goes back to Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Games. The Olympic Charter also states that the Olympic Movement is composed of sport, culture and education. These elements were often blended, as in the prewar Games that included such events as poetry and painting. From 1912 to 1948, arts competitions were held in parallel with the sporting events, though growing discontent meant this curiously hybrid system was jettisoned in favour of separate arts and cultural festivals held alongside the sports. From Barcelona in 1992, the idea of a Cultural Olympiad took hold, whereby a series of arts and cultural events would be organized during the four-year Olympiad period to culminate with the Games, though this had already happened de facto at past Games.
Now the leading figures in the protest movement against the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have called for an anti-Cultural Olympiad. In the recently published Anti-Olympics Arts Council Statement of Purpose, activists point to the destruction of public housing and eviction of homeless people as part of the preparations for the Olympics in Tokyo. The statement ends with a call to action:
For residents of urban areas, and especially the poor, the Olympic/Paralympic Games are nothing but a huge catastrophe. We, the Anti-Olympic Arts Council, call for you to resist and protest against these mega events. We call on artists, performers, poets, and all that use the arts as their medium—oppose the Olympic Games.
It is often said that artists in Japan have avoided direct political engagement in past decades, preferring more oblique modes of socially engaged practice, though the post-Fukushima zeitgeist has certainly produced some prominent examples of overtly politicized art. The prospect of the Olympics and Cultural Olympiad in 2020, given the geopolitical situation in the region as well as such ongoing major socio-cultural questions as Fukushima, Constitutional change and Japan’s demographic time bomb, necessarily conjure up a dilemma for the arts. How will the arts respond? Will artists protest, ignore, borrow or participate?
 
The most notable and lasting case of an artistic response to the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics is surely Kon Ichikawa’s nearly three-hour documentary film Tokyo Olympiad (1965). Arguably, the Olympics “propaganda” film subverts the brief, focusing on many of the small moments and the ordinary people among the spectators. It starts with the rising sun and then a wrecking ball while the narration enumerates the iterations of the modern Games and their host cities. The Olympics have noble aspirations, as Ichikawa acknowledges from the opening epigraph, but the reality, at least initially, is demolition. It ultimately segues into a somewhat more predictable, yet staggeringly meticulous, hymn to the facilities created for the 1964 sporting events, the participating athletes and the competitions themselves, but the underlying social commentary is more subtle.
The 1964 Olympics were more conspicuously satirised by the art collective Hi-Red Center when its members set about cleaning the streets of Ginza in white lab coats, a stunt intended to mock the city’s attempts to spruce up its appearance ahead of the Games. Recent moves in Japan to expunge pornographic magazines from retail outlets is an indication of the “cleaning” likely to take place prior to 2020.
One of the early projects of Akira Takayama’s theater collective Port B examined both the famous 1964 Games but also Japan’s “phantom Olympics”, the 1940 Games that were canceled due to World War Two. Tokyo/Olympic (2007) was a tour several hours long around the city on a chartered Hato Bus that took in the sites of the 1964 Games, but finished rather unexpectedly at a rather desolate location in Tokyo Bay. Participants could look across the bay to see the artificial island of Yumenoshima (literally, “island of hope”), which was made from the city’s trash, and a projected venue for the abandoned 1940 Games. (See Peter Eckersall, “Memory and City: Port B and the Tokyo Olympics” in Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan: City, Body, Memory, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.) The bay area will play host to many of the venues for the 2020 Games at a time when the government, say its critics, is attempting to steer the nation back towards its prewar past.
The upcoming Olympics in Tokyo have already succeeded in coopting many artists for its pageantry. One of them is the singer Ringo Sheena, though she recently got flamed by liberals for her nationalist comments in a July interview with the Asahi Shimbun in which she declared that “the whole population is the organizing committee” for the Games. “In that sense, it’s very Japanese in its respect for harmony.” No individual opinions are anticipated.
More specifically, the direction and content of the actual 2020 Games’ cultural program is the source of much anxiety in the arts world in Japan, since so little is known. Certain commercially driven artists have been announced as part of the Cultural Olympiad, but firm details are still under wraps. So far what we have been shown has largely consisted of the “Tokyo Caravan” performances, overseen by Hideki Noda, beginning in 2015 and then continuing at Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo’s Roppongi Art Night in 2016. Ostensibly this would qualify the program as an “Olympiad”, even if the events are apparently mere previews without a genuine feeling of sequence or overall curation. Alongside the Roppongi Art Night performance, an event in autumn 2016 “fusing traditional arts and the latest technologies for which Japan is famous”, officially launched the Olympiad as an “ambitious programme of cultural activities”. The veracity of that boast remains to be seen.
It is certainly the case that various celebrities and artists will benefit financially from the Olympics and Cultural Olympic. One of the reasons that Expo ’70 in Osaka was also such an iconic event was the participation of major figures from the arts, though this was not without intense controversy at the time — so much so that an “anti-expo” was held. Now that there is an Anti-Olympics Art Council, perhaps we can expect such a counter-event, an Anti-Cultural Olympiad, in 2020.
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November 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area in the early stage of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident and its fluctuation over five years

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Fig 1. Sampling sites of soil samples.

Geographical distribution of the 134+137Cs precipitation referred to the aircraft monitoring results by the MEXT of Japan on December 16, 2011 [30]. Adapted from ‘Extension Site of Distribution Map of Radiation Dose, etc.’ (http://ramap.jmc.or.jp/map/).

 

The activity and inventory of radioactive material in the eastern part of Tokyo tended to be high… The radioactive plume with high 131I activity spread into the Tokyo metropolitan area…
Almost no public information about the radioactive contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area and Kanto district had been shared…
The plume containing a large amount of radioactive material drifted into the Tokyo metropolitan area… where over 30 million residents live… [Publications] include almost no discussion of the fact that radioactive materials were carried into the Tokyo metropolitan area…
The contamination level was extremely high in a roadside ditch sludge in Kashiwa City…
The quantity of 134+137Cs deposited in the region studied was estimated… from values measured in the soil, it was estimated as 5.35 TBq…
High activities and inventories of the radionuclides were found in eastern Tokyo and northern Chiba… The contamination was even higher in the adjoining northern part of Chiba located east of Tokyo…
The results reveal that the Tokyo metropolitan area even now continues to be affected by radioactive contamination caused by the FDNPP accident…
Gordon Edwards, Ph.D, nuclear expert, 2017 (pdf): Intensive contamination extends over 200 km south – right down to the outskirts of Tokyo
IRSN, 2016 (pdf): Fukushima-Daiichi Accident: Main contamination events… Event of 14-16 March – This event is marked by turning winds and by a rainfall that generated significant contamination of the Japanese territory. On the evening of the 14th of March, a first radioactive plume was transported by winds towards the southwest… and reached the Tokyo area. At Tsukuba, 153 Bq/m3** were measured…
** 153 Bq/m3 = 153,000,000 uBq/m3 Cs-137 in Tsukuba after Fukushima vs. 1.2 uBq/m3 Cs-137 in Tsukuba before Fukushima (source) = 127,500,000 times higher Cs-137 after Fukushima

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Japan Prime Minister Requests ASEAN Nations to Lift Food Import Ban

 The way Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing with arrogance Fukushima contaminated produce to Japan’s neighbor nations is no surprise, we can see the influence of his grandfather in the Prime Minister’s own outlook.
The grandfather of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was as a Class-A war criminal. Nobusuke Kishi, who served for three years as a senior official in the Manchukuo puppet government installed in Shenyang following the invasion. Kishi was initially charged with war crimes but was subsequently cleared of the charges by a Tokyo tribunal. He later rejoined politics and went on to become Prime Minister in 1957.
Mr. Abe is a “revisionist” bent upon denying wartime history, and also rewriting Japan’s pacifist Constitution and reviving militarism.
Mr. Abe, a Conservative politician who took office in December 2012, is attempting to rewrite history and downplay atrocities. Mr. Abe recently angered both China and South Korea – which also faced Japanese occupation – by becoming the first Japanese leader in seven years to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan’s civilian war-dead but also enshrines 14 Class-A war criminals, including officials behind the Nanking massacre.
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Japan has requested ASEAN nations to lift the ban on food import from the country, which was introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
MANILA (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his opening remarks at the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit in Manila on Tuesday requested ASEAN nations to lift the ban on food import from the country.
“Incidentally, it has been six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. I strongly request that import controls on Japanese food to be lifted, based on scientific grounds,” Abe said.
The Japanese prime minister added that Japan would start rice deliveries to Laos and Myanmar again through the APT Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement.
Following the devastating Fukushima nuclear accident caused by a massive earthquake in 2011, many countries around the world, including ASEAN nations, introduced various import restrictions on food produced in certain Japanese prefectures. Some countries have eased such restrictions in recent years.
During his previous remarks at APT summits in recent years, Abe brought up the issue of easing import restrictions on food produced in Japan consistently.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 3 Comments

EU to stop radiation check on Fukushima rice etc.

The European Commission shows that once more it does not give a damn about the health of the European, this time by lifting the restrictions and controls on the Fukushima products, rice, some fishes and seafood!!!

 

The problem is it might not even be clearly labelled  from Fukushima, and most of people in Europe are still quite ignorant of internal radiation thru contaminated produce.
The EU allows Chernobyl area berries and mushrooms to be labeled as organic. Fukushima rice should fit right in .

From November 29, 2016 The harvests of Chernobyl https://aeon.co/essays/ukraine-s-berry-pickers-are-reaping-a-radioactive-bounty

 

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The European Union has decided to lift import control on some agricultural produce and seafood from Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
Currently, food products from 13 Japanese prefectures remain under control even after gradual easing by the EU. These products cannot enter EU nations without a radiation safety certificate to prove the product is within the EU safety standards.
Starting on December 1st, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will phase out the certificate on some products from 10 prefectures.
Those products include rice from Fukushima Prefecture, yellowtail fish, red sea bream, some mushrooms and mountain vegetables. All products from Akita Prefecture will have been cleared.
No restriction on Fukushima rice will mean that rice from other prefectures will no longer need a certificate. Observers say this would encourage rice farmers across the nation to export more.
The Japanese government has been asking the EU to lift restrictions on all the remaining controlled products.

 

November 13, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 1 Comment

Blanket radiation checks on Fukushima rice under debate

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FUKUSHIMA – Blanket radiation checks on rice produced in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture have come under debate because no rice with radiation exceeding the safety limit has been found in recent years.
Some people, including producers, in the prefecture call for continuing the current system because there are consumers who still avoid Fukushima produce. But the blanket checks are costly and require a lot of manpower.
The prefectural government hopes to decide by year-end whether to change the radiation checks, starting with rice that will be harvested next year, officials said.
The blanket checks were introduced after many parts of the prefecture were contaminated with radioactive substances released because of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
Fukushima rice is put through radiation checks bag by bag before shipment. The safety limit is set at 100 becquerels per 1 kg of rice.
Rice that pass the checks have certification labels attached to the bags before being put through distribution channels.
According to Fukushima officials, the total amount of rice harvested last year and checked by the end of September this year reached 10.26 million bags.
To cover the expenses, the prefectural government collects ¥5 billion from Tepco each year. Some ¥500 million to ¥600 million in personnel expenses are covered with state subsidies.
The prefecture conducted radiation checks on a total of 53.13 million bags of rice harvested between 2012-2016. Total costs reached ¥30.5 billion.
The blanket check system began with the 2012 rice. At that time, 71 of the 867 bags checked exceeded the safety limit. But no such rice was detected at all for the 2014-2016 rice.
As of Oct. 25 this year, radiation levels stood below the minimum detectable level of 25 becquerels for 99.99 percent of the 2016 rice that underwent the checks.
The absence of above-limit rice has led some people to question the blanket check system. The continuance of the system may be making the unintended effect of fueling consumer concern about Fukushima rice, one critic said.
To discuss the fate of the blanket system, the prefecture set up a group with members of agricultural and consumer organizations in July this year.
The group will examine the issue based on opinions from more than 300 local farmers and seven wholesale companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It will also conduct an internet survey of 2,000 consumers nationwide.
Hisao Tomita, a farmer working in the city of Fukushima, called for the continuance of the current system even though it is burdensome also to producers.
As long as Fukushima rice is affected by negative rumors, radiation checks should be maintained even if they have to be scaled back, he said.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

EU parliament opposes bid to reduce testing of Fukushima food imports

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STRASBOURG, FRANCE – The European Parliament on Wednesday warned against easing health controls imposed on food products imported from the Fukushima region in the wake of the nuclear meltdowns of 2011.

The checks were imposed on food from the area around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which went into meltdown after being hit by massive tsunami, spewing radiation over a wide area in the world’s most serious nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to reduce the list of foods subject to radiation tests before they can be imported into the bloc, which currently includes rice, mushrooms, fish and other seafood.

A resolution passed by a large majority of MEPs called on the commission to withdraw its proposal, saying it was “very difficult to verify whether the measures proposed are sufficient” to protect European consumers and there was reason to think it “could lead to an increase in exposure to radioactive contaminated food.

French Green MEP Michele Rivasi said extra vigilance was needed as the EU negotiates a trade deal with Japan.

MEPs criticized the Commission for not providing them with the data used to decide it was acceptable to relax the restrictions.

The matter will be reviewed in the coming weeks by experts appointed by EU member states, ahead of a vote expected in October, a parliament spokesman told AFP.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/14/national/politics-diplomacy/eu-parliament-opposes-bid-reduce-testing-fukushima-food-imports/#.WbsV7Rdx3rd

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September 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan urged by China to deal with Fukushima-affected food

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Officers from the Beijing Food and Drug Administration check imported food at a supermarket on Thursday.

Report finds many e-commerce sites selling potentially unsafe products

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has urged the Japanese government to take more effective measures to handle the environmental aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and disclose information to ensure marine environmental safety and the safety of people in other countries.

Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the comment on Thursday following exposure by China’s State television station that food products from areas affected by the nuclear disaster in Japan are being sold in China.

China’s top food regulator promised on Thursday to punish such irregularities involving food safety exposed in China Central Television’s annual World Consumer Rights Day program on Wednesday.

“We have demanded local food and drug supervision authorities investigate the irregularities and transfer criminal suspects to public security authorities,” the China Food and Drug Administration said.

Food and drug authorities must strengthen supervision over food safety and severely punish culprits, it said.

Food from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have been sold on many e-commerce platforms in China and in some brick-and-mortar shops, including dairy, cereal, rice and wine, CCTV reported.

Although some of the products had labeling in Japanese that specified manufacturing locations such as Tokyo and Tochigi, they were covered by Chinese labels that only stated the manufacturing location as Japan, the report said.

China has banned the importation of food and animal feed from Tokyo and 11 prefectures, including Fukushima, Niigata-ken and Tochigi, since April 2011 to guard against risks, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Major supermarkets and e-commerce platforms in Beijing started to inspect imported food products following the CCTV report and found no product from any of the 12 areas, Ji Ye, an official at Beijing Food and Drug Administration, said.

The administration is also conducting inspections of food enterprises in Beijing, including MUJI and 7-Eleven, and will recall any product that is imported from the affected areas, he said.

More than 13,000 online shops in China were suspected of selling food from these banned areas, according to the Shenzhen Market and Quality Supervision Commission, CCTV reported.

Law enforcement officers from the commission found nearly 20,000 packages of “Calbee” brand oatmeal, which is from Tochigi, at a company in Shenzhen, the report said.

Some supermarkets, including Japanese brand MUJI, are also suspected of violations, CCTV said.

MUJI said on Thursday that the two kinds of products, a cereal beverage and a muffin, are made in Fukui-ken and Osaka, which are not on the list of imports banned by China’s quality supervision authorities.

http://www.ecns.cn/2017/03-17/249602.shtml

http://www.pressreader.com/china/china-daily/20170317/281694024591810

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Singapore keeping in place Fukushima food import curbs, six years after disaster

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Signs at Cold Storage supermarket in 2011 clarifying that food imports are from safe regions in Japan, and are tested by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

TOKYO – Singapore is keeping in place curbs on food imports from Fukushima, which six years ago on Saturday (March 11) was hit by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has told The Straits Times.

This is despite the authority having announced a review on easing curbs in January last year, and Japan’s repeated insistence that its strict food safety standards already exceed international requirements.

Japan’s reconstruction minister Masahiro Imamura had said last month that it was “irrational” to restrict the import of Japanese food products that are sold on the market, lobbying countries and regions to lift their food bans on imports from the disaster-hit regions.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck under the Pacific Ocean at 2.46pm local time (1.46pm in Singapore), triggering a 10m wall of water that ravaged the north-east Japanese coast. It crippled the Fukushima No. 1 power station, causing meltdowns in three of its reactors.

The AVA did not explicitly address the reasons it has opted to retain the curbs, but a spokesman told The Straits Times on Saturday that the authority “periodically reviews food import conditions to ensure food safety for our consumers, without unnecessarily impeding trade”.

Last year’s review came as Agriculture Minister Hiroshi Moriyama requested Singapore ease its restrictions during a meeting with National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. During their talks, Mr Moriyama noted that the European Union had begun to relax its regulations on Japanese food imports.

The AVA banned the import of some food products from 11 prefectures after the incident, but some of these restrictions were lifted in 2014, after “an inspection and comprehensive risk assessment of food from Japan”.

However, curbs on seafood and other produce from several areas remain in place.

Singapore does not allow the import of seafood, agricultural produce and forest products – including wild berries, wild mushrooms and wild boar meat – from areas in Fukushima prefecture where agriculture remains banned, or within a 20km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Meanwhile, seafood and forest-gathered or harvested products from prefectures neighbouring Fukushima – namely Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma – still require pre-export tests, the AVA added.

“All food products from Japan still require a certificate of origin to identify the prefecture of origin of the food product,” the AVA spokesman said on Saturday, adding that it will continue to closely monitor food imports from Japan to ensure that they comply with Singapore’s food safety requirements.

She added that current imports from Fukushima prefecture are “insignificant” and accounted for less than 0.1 per cent of total food imports worldwide last year.

Mr Imamura had said last month that 21 countries have lifted the bans while many countries and regions have “significantly relaxed” the restrictions.

He told a news conference: “Japan carries out an inspection of radioactive substances according to the world’s strictest level of standard limits based on scientific evidence. Only foods that have passed the inspection are circulated on the market. Of course, exported foods are subject to the same strict inspection process.”

But the easing of food import curbs from Fukushima remains a deeply political issue in several territories. In Taiwan, a public hearing over whether the territory should ease its ban last December was scuppered by rioting.

Mr Imamura stressed that Japanese standards, which specify general foods containing radioactive substances of 100 becquerel (Bq) or higher per 1 kg should not be sold, “are extremely strict compared to those in the European Union or the United States, or the international Codex standard”.

He said: “Last year, no rice, vegetables and fruits, livestock products, cultivated mushrooms, or seafood products grown in Fukushima prefecture were detected to have exceeded standard limits.”

He added that inspections on rice grown in Fukushima prefecture are done for “all bags of rice, not only samples”, and that in 2015 and 2016, no bags of rice exceeded the standard limit.

As for seafood, no items have exceeded the standard limits since April 2015, he said.

“It is irrational to restrict the import of Japanese food products that are sold on the market, which have passed very strict inspection,” he said. “We would like the authorities in each country and region to see these scientific and objective facts.”

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/singapore-keeping-in-place-fukushima-food-import-curbs-six-years-after-disaster

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 1 Comment

15,550 Bq / kg radioactive cesium school rooftop sludge in Chiba prefecture

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Noda city (Noda-shi on the map) is located in Chiba prefecture, at the northern doorstep of Tokyo.

Noda City announced on January 24 that more than 15,550 Becquerel of radioactive cesium exceeded the criteria of designated waste (more than 8,000 bq per 1 kilogram) from the rooftop sludge of Municipal Nittsuka Elementary School. It is the first time that sludge exceeded the standard value in the city. The city already removed the sludge, in accordance with procedures as specified waste based on the Special Measures Law.

In response to the high radiation dose measurements found in Kashiwa city public property site this month, the city started inspection of sludge etc. and dose measurement at 300 public facilities. The country’s decontamination standard is 0.23 microsieverts per hour with a measurement height of 1 meter (50 centimeters for children-related facilities), but the city has independently set the measurement height to be a more severe 5 cm. There are no places that have exceeded city standards so far.

Meanwhile, on the 14th and 15th, they measured sludge on the roof of 12 elementary and junior high schools that were the subjects of solar panel roofing projects. As a result, they found doses exceeding city standards at five schools, up to 0.85 micro-Sievert was measured. City removed the sludge and checked radioactive cesium concentration. Only the sludge of Yotsuka-sho, had concentration of cesium exceeding the standard value of designated waste.

The removed sludge is temporarily stored at a temporary storage place surrounded by containers on the city hall premises. Approximately 5 cubic meters of targeted waste is treated, and four schools sludge which cesium concentration was found within the standard value were treated as general waste.

https://t.co/jG1fjJnKT

Translated from Japanese by Hervé Courtois

February 26, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Agency to probe reasons behind underpricing of Fukushima items

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Prices of agricultural products and foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture declined after the nuclear plant accident in March 2011, and almost six years later, have yet to recover to pre-disaster levels.

Now the government is seeking to ascertain why these items are still being sold at lower prices, suspecting that wholesalers are deliberately underpricing products being shipped from the prefecture.

The Reconstruction Agency will survey wholesalers’ purchase prices of Fukushima-made food products, according to sources.

The agency believes crops and other items grown in the prefecture are being undersold because of the negative effects of groundless rumors stemming from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The latest decision is aimed at preventing the spread of those rumors.

The agency’s plan is expected to be included in a draft revision of the Law on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima, to be submitted during the current Diet session.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the nuclear accident, Fukushima-made foodstuffs have been shipped only after their radioactivity levels are confirmed to be below safety standards.

The levels for those agricultural and other products typically fall below detectable levels, meaning most foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture are completely safe to eat.

Despite the fact, trading prices of rice and beef produced in the prefecture are still nearly 10 percent lower than national averages, according to the agency.

The agency suspects that the prices have not recovered to their pre-disaster levels not only because consumers tend to avoid Fukushima-made articles, but also because they are “purchased at unreasonably low rates” at the time of shipping.

When prices to wholesalers of food products grown in the prefecture are lower than pre-disaster rates, farmers can be compensated for the difference by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Some wholesalers may knock down the price, misusing the compensation system,” said a source at the Reconstruction Agency.

To prevent the abuse of the compensation system, the special measures law will be amended to include a plan to conduct “a survey to make clear why they (Fukushima-made products) are suffering from sluggish sales.”

Based on the revised law, the agency will survey the prices farmers are selling their crops for to wholesalers, how much consumers are paying for the agricultural products and other trading prices of foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture.

After identifying the reason for the lower prices, the agency will offer instructions and advice to wholesalers and other related parties.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702150001.html

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February 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

‘Forgery’ suit filed against minister

TRUTHFUL? The Green Consumers’ Foundation claims that a Ministry of Health and Welfare report on Japanese food imports contains false and inaccurate information

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Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang, right, presses the doorbell of the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday to file a lawsuit against Minister of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien following the release of a ministry report on food imports from Japan.

Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang (方儉) yesterday filed a lawsuit against Minister of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office accusing the minister of “forgery,” claiming that the ministry’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used false data in its report on easing restrictions on Japanese food imports from the five prefectures closest to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which suffered a meltdown in March 2011.

Fang said that the government’s report provided at the weekend at public hearings on lifting the ban on imports of Japanese food items from the five prefectures contained false data that could mislead the public.

He said the report claims that “only China and Taiwan still impose a total ban on food imports from the five prefectures closest to Fukushima [Dai-ichi],” but the US FDA had issued an alert last month stating that the coast guard “may detain, without physical examination,” certain specified products from firms in 14 prefectures near Fukushima Dai-ichi.

The report also claims that “the standard [for acceptable radiation levels in food] in Taiwan is the same as other nations,” but Taiwan has looser standards than many nations, he added.

He said the government in January established 100 becquerel per kilogram (Bq/kg) as the standard radiation limit for food, but another 100Bq/kg was set as the standard radiation limit for iodine-131, meaning the total limit is 200Bq/kg.

Is the Ministry of Health and Welfare protecting the public’s health or is it protecting radiation-contaminated food and feeding it to us?” Fan asked, urging the government to provide truthful data to the public.

In response, FDA Deputy Director Lin Ching-fu (林金富) said the ministry regrets that Fan has misread its data and that the ministry had not forged any data, adding that Fan, having filed a lawsuit, should be held to the equivalent legal liability.

FDA Division of Food Safety official Cheng Wei-chih (鄭維智) said safety standard for general food items is 100Bq/kg for “iodine-131” and 100Bq/kg for “cesium-134 and cesium-137,” and that the radioisotopes are examined separately.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/11/15/2003659308

November 16, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment