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Fukushima groups discuss food promotion in Europe

BEWARE
With the EU-Japan free trade agreement recently just signed, expect Fukushima radiation contaminated produce to be sneakily dumped on the unaware European consumers.
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July 16, 2018
DUESSELDORF, Germany (Jiji Press) — Four European-based associations of people from Fukushima Prefecture held a meeting of their leaders in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on Sunday.
The participants from the associations in Germany, Britain, France and the Netherlands discussed how to strengthen their call for the European Union to lift its remaining import restrictions on foods from Fukushima and ways to promote sales of Fukushima products in Europe.
The meeting was the second of its kind. The first leaders’ meeting of the four associations was held in the Netherlands in June last year.
The EU introduced its import restrictions on foods from Fukushima and other Japanese prefectures following the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
In December 2017, the restrictions were lifted for part of the foods, including rice from Fukushima. But the EU still requires the submission of certification documents on radiation checks for imports of some items, such as soybeans and part of fishery products from the prefecture.
At Sunday’s meeting, the leaders of the Fukushima-related associations reconfirmed a plan to launch a similar association of people from the prefecture in Belgium to beef up lobbying activities for the EU headquarters in Brussels for the full removal of the import restrictions.
Takeshi Ishikawa, head of the association in the Netherlands, stressed his hope to set up the envisioned new association by the end of this year, while citing difficulties selecting a person who will play a leading role in the establishment of the new group.
The participants also discussed the idea of utilizing various events in Europe to help expand the marketing channels for products from Fukushima.
“We hope to publicize Fukushima and support its reconstruction,” said Yoshio Mitsuyama, head of the association in Britain.
Fukushima is one of the areas hit hardest by the March 2011 powerful earthquake and tsunami, which led to the severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

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July 19, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo 2020 to feed IOC food from disaster-hit regions

dec 4 2017 Olympics will fed produce from Tohoku
The 2020 organisers have been trying to include the disaster-hit areas in their planning
International Olympic officials will be fed produce from northern Japan hit by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, as Tokyo 2020 organisers aim to dispel fears over food from the region.
“Restoration of the disaster-hit area is an important pillar of our Games,” a spokeswoman for the Tokyo 2020 organising committee told AFP.
“By offering food from three disaster-hit prefectures, we hope to sweep away the false reputation of food from the regions and contribute to the restoration,” she said.
At a dinner during next week’s three-day visit by International Olympic Committee, Tokyo organisers are planning to offer fine food from the disaster-hit region and invite governors of the three prefectures to the meal, the official said.
The regions are famous for rice, pork, mackerel and apples but details of the menu are yet to be finalised, she added.
The northern Japanese areas of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate were devastated in 2011 by a huge quake-triggered tsunami and the resulting Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident contaminated large swathes of land and tainted the water with radiation.
Right after the disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 — 54 countries imposed import bans on Japanese-produced food “for fear of contamination with radioactive materials”, farm ministry official Maiko Kubo told AFP.
Today, more than six years after the disaster, 25 countries have completely ended the ban and just days ago, the European Union further loosened their rules, scrapping their requirements for safety certificates for rice grown in Fukushima, she said.
However, China still has a trade ban on food from 10 Japanese prefectures and Taiwan from five regions.
Food from the affected areas has to pass strict Japanese safety tests before being put on the market.
A small number of food products made in Fukushima, such as mountain vegetables, are still banned in Japan.
Tokyo 2020 organisers have been keen to include the disaster-hit areas in the preparation for the Games.
In March, Fukushima won formal approval to host baseball and may have the honour of putting on the opening game.
And Kengo Kuma, designer of the new national stadium, the showpiece venue for the Games, has said he hopes to use timber from the disaster-hit region.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Lobbying to Export Fukushima Produce

If we are to believe the Japanese government and the Fukushima local government all Fukushima produce are deliciously safe for consumption and safe to be exported, all having passed the strictest controls for the foreign consumers 100% safety…..There is no left radiation, nor contamination in Fukushima Prefecture…. Smile and you will remain safe and healthy!!!

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Fukushima food exports to Malaysia rise as radiation stigma fades

KUALA LUMPUR – Fukushima Prefecture aims to export 100 tons of rice and 15 tons of peaches to Malaysia by next year, its governor said Wednesday, evidence of fading concern over the safety of food products from the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

“In the aftermath of the earthquake and the nuclear plant incident, the agriculture sector suffered very much. We have to deal with negative rumor. But things are slowly recovering,” Gov. Masao Uchibori said at a press conference in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

“We inspect 100 percent of the rice and are working hard to bridge the gap between perception and reality.”

Malaysia began importing rice from Fukushima in May, and has brought in 29 tons so far, Ajwad Abu Hassan, the managing director of Malaysia rice importer Edaran Komachi Sdn., said at the same press conference.

Ajwad said his company aims to import another 48 tons by year-end, and even greater amounts eventually.

“Fukushima produces the best quality rice in Japan. We are proud to sell this rice,” said Ajwad. “We are targeting 100 metric tons a year hopefully. In fact, we are trying to increase from not only 100 metric tons but a container full every month.”

A full shipping container holds about 12 tons.

Akumul Abu Hassan, the managing director of another rice trading company, MHC Co. Ltd, said Malaysia currently consumes about 350 tons of Japonica rice a month imported from various parts of the world including South Korea, Vietnam and China. Only 20 to 30 tons comes from Japan, and that from other prefectures such as Akita, Niigata, Hokkaido and Hiroshima.

But Akumul said when it comes to quality, nothing beats rice from Japan.

“Compare to rice from Japan, that from Vietnam, 5 percent will contain broken grains. You don’t find that in rice from Japan,” Akumul said.

Malaysia began importing Fukushima peaches a year after the disaster, and Takashi Kanno, appearing at the same press conference as a representative of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives, said “Malaysia was one of the first countries to accept and give us an opportunity.”

From almost zero in 2012, Fukushima exported 1.2 tons of peaches to Malaysia in 2013, increasing to 7.3 tons last year and 9.5 tons so far this year.

Fukushima is the second-largest peach producing prefecture in Japan after Yamanashi.

Uchibori said after meeting with trading companies involved in exporting peaches, the federation has set a goal of selling 15 tons a year to Malaysia, as peaches are now being sent by ship instead of by air, which will lower the cost.

Fukushima Prefecture also exports broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and persimmons to Malaysia.

https://japantoday.com/category/business/fukushima-food-exports-to-malaysia-rise-as-radiation-stigma-fades

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Ministry pushes farmers to attain certification to supply food for Tokyo Olympics

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The agriculture ministry has stepped up efforts to certify more agricultural producers in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, as the number of meals to be served for athletes and staff will likely exceed 15 million, the amount distributed during the 2012 London Games.

Agricultural producers supplying food for the upcoming quadrennial sporting events are required to obtain certificates under the Good Agricultural Practices third-party system to guarantee safety.

In Japan, about 4,500 farmers and farming organizations have acquired either the Global GAP, issued by a German association, or the Japan GAP (JGAP), managed by the Japan GAP Foundation. This is likely to fall short of the number of producers needed in the 2020 Games, sources familiar with the situation said.

A big obstacle is the expense of obtaining the certificates, with close to ¥100,000 in screening fees needed for the JGAP.

In March, the organizing committee for the Tokyo Games announced a decision to use food made by GAP-certified producers for meals to be served at the Olympic village and other related facilities.

With the current situation, Japan would have to procure a considerable amount of food from abroad, the sources said.

The ministry has set a goal of more than tripling the number of certified agricultural producers from the current level by the fiscal year ended March 2020.

In addition to providing subsidies to cover JGAP screening fees, the ministry plans to give priority to producers aiming to obtain GAP certificates in specific subsidy programs in fiscal 2018.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government plans to take advantage of the 2020 Games to dispel misinformation about the safety of food produced in the prefecture, home to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where triple reactor meltdowns occurred due to damage from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In May this year, Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori declared that Fukushima aims to rank top among the country’s 47 prefectures in terms of the number of producers with GAP certificates. At present, there are nine GAP-certified producers in the prefecture.

By supplying locally produced food for the games, the prefecture hopes to promote the Fukushima brand in and outside Japan.

The prefectural government is now actively holding seminars to inform farmers and agricultural cooperative officials about the advantages of gaining GAP certification.

A company that operates a fruit farm producing persimmons, peaches and apples in the Fukushima city of Aizuwakamatsu won the JGAP certificate in January.

The process involved preparation of daily work reports and other documents. The costs, including expenses for pesticide storage facilities, were high, according to the firm.

Still, Mitsuhiro Saito, 60, president of the company, said, “The acquisition of the certificate helped boost our awareness about the importance of maintaining a clean environment and labor safety.”

But his farm may face a shortage of fruits for regular sales if products are supplied for the 2020 Games.

Saito now believes that it would be better for his farm to supply products for the Olympics and Paralympics only if inventories are enough, rather than placing absolute priority on the Games and creating problems for regular customers.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/26/national/ministry-pushes-farmers-attain-certification-supply-food-tokyo-olympics/#.WXmQPK3pOis

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima peach exports recover in Southeast Asia, sparking hope for other produce???

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The original article was published by Fukushima Minpo, local Fukushima Newspaper, which promotes “recovery”.To export your contaminated fruits to other countries is plainly criminal.

Fukushima peaches are making inroads into Southeast Asian markets in what prefectural officials see as a model case of recovery in its farm produce.

Fukushima grabbed the top share of Japanese peach exports to three Southeast Asian countries last year — 73.9 percent in Thailand, 76.8 percent in Malaysia and 55.9 percent in Indonesia.

In terms of volume, Fukushima exported a combined 30.6 tons of peaches to the three countries plus Singapore in 2016, surpassing the 23.9 tons logged in 2010 — the year before the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant shattered trust in its farm produce in March 2011.

Given the improved figures, the Fukushima Prefectural Government now believes the measures it took to combat harmful rumors are paying off. It hopes to revive sales channels for other produce by using the recovery of peach exports as a base.

The prefectural government announced the export data at the end of January based on the Finance Ministry’s trade statistics for 2016 and other figures compiled by the Fukushima headquarters of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, or JA Zen-Noh.

Fukushima is the nation’s No. 2 peach-growing prefecture after Yamanashi and has been dubbed a “fruit kingdom” for the wide variety grown, including cherries, grapes, pears and apples.

Its peach exports peaked at 70 tons in 2008, thanks mainly to Taiwan and Hong Kong, but import bans imposed from the Fukushima disaster saw the peach trade collapse to zero in 2011.

According to the prefecture’s public relations office, Fukushima was quick to review its sales strategy and shift focus to Southeast Asia, where some countries eased import restrictions on its produce at an early stage.

A decision to promote the sweetness and freshness of Fukushima peaches was also a major factor in grabbing the hearts of consumers, the office said.

Despite the success in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, it may take time before other countries in the region follow suit.

In Singapore, for example, Fukushima peaches last year had a market share of only 12 percent among all peaches the city-state imported from Japan.

The prefecture is hoping that the improvements in the three countries will help persuade other markets, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, that its peaches are safe.

The recovery of the fruit’s reputation overseas has provided great encouragement to the prefecture’s peach growers, including Shigeyoshi Saito, 58, of the city of Date.

Along with other items, peaches are a main pillar of Fukushima’s farm produce,” he said. “I hope their good reputation in Southeast Asia will spread the word to the entire world.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/19/national/fukushima-peach-exports-recover-southeast-asia-sparking-hope-produce/#.WKoHZvL9KM8

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment