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China lifts ban on Niigata rice in place since nuclear disaster

November 29, 2018
China on Nov. 28 lifted its import ban on rice produced in Niigata Prefecture but maintained restrictions imposed since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster on other food from 10 prefectures.
During their summit in October, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to lift the import restrictions on Japanese agricultural and other products.
China apparently examined the distances and wind directions from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and decided to remove the ban on Niigata rice.
Japanese private companies have long hoped to resume rice exports to China, which accounts for about 30 percent of the world market for the staple food.
The Japanese government plans to ask the Chinese government to further ease restrictions on other food products.
The Abe administration has been promoting overseas sales of Japanese food products. It has set a goal of 1 trillion yen ($8.8 billion) as the annual export amount of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, as well as processed food.
But after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, 54 countries and regions imposed restrictions on food imports from Japan.
Although the restrictions have been gradually eased, eight countries and regions–China, the United States, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau–still ban imports of certain products from certain areas of Japan, according to the agricultural ministry.

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

Fukushima to scale down radiation tests on rice

All part of the now 6 years ongoing denial campaign of the Japanese Government, denying the harmful effects of internal radiation and that even at low dose level, meant to calm down the fears of the local population, and to prepare the venue of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and also to incite other countries to lift their import restrictions and radiation testing of the Eastern Japan produce.
dec 7 2017 reducing rice testing.jpg
Authorities in Fukushima plan to scale down radiation tests on rice harvested in the prefecture.
Since the nuclear accident in March 2011, the local government has spent 6 billion yen – or about 53 million dollars – every year to check radiation levels of all rice produced in Fukushima.
The tests require farmers to transport their harvest to a testing facility. Samples with radiation levels higher than the government-set limit have not been detected since 2015.
An expert panel convened in July to review the testing system and survey the opinions of consumers.
Based on the panel’s recommendations, local authorities have decided to replace full-scale testing with sample inspections in 47 of the Fukushima’s 59 municipalities.
The remaining 12 municipalities are located around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Authorities have yet to decide when they will switch from full-scale to sample testing. Officials say they will take a decision in February.
Rice is the only produce from Fukushima to be tested systematically. All other agricultural and marine products undergo sample testing.

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

Promoting Fukushima Rice and Sake



On the Issue of Japan, Fukushima and Rice

In Japan, rice is life. The word for “life” is also the word for “meal” or “food.” The importance of rice to the Japanese people cannot be overstated. The word for rice has been called “emotive.” Damage to Japan’s rice crops goes beyond simple damage to the diet. To be confronted with a shortage of rice calls forth powerful feelings of deprivation in the Japanese. Japanese rice, irradiated by the events of “3/11,” is in danger.

3/11” is what the Japanese call the series of deadly disasters which struck northern Japan in March of 2011; the earthquake, tsunami, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown. Northern Japan was devastated and recovery will take many decades.

When the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility was badly damaged by irradiation, local crops, including batches of rice grown in Fukushima, found to be badly affected by radiation, were swiftly removed from the market.

Five years after the quake, Fukushima rice producers still have difficulty marketing their produce. But the Japanese government, working in tandem with nonprofits and private organizations, has developed a positive and creative response to the Fukushima food crisis.

The Rice Peace Project Seminar, held on September 19, 2016 in New York, was inspired by the initiatives of a Japanese government supported campaign working together with non-profits, corporate projects, and organizations, including the NPO Project 88.

The NPO Project 88, which takes name from the 88 processes of rice production, mobilizes Japanese high-quality rice as an emergency relief food. Developing tasty, nutritious, non-GMO, low pesticide, and allergen-free, organic and gluten-free rice products is also central to NPO Project 88’s mission, helping to spread peace and disaster-relief in the world through rice.

The Rice Peace Project Seminar, held to publicize the efforts of the NPO Project 88, featured three speakers from Japan. Mrs. Akie Abe, spouse of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr. Hiroshi Sakurai, President of the sake brewery Asahi Shuzo, and Ms. Nari Takahashi, President of NPO Project 88. The speeches were followed by a sushi tasting prepared by Sushi Chef Yoichi Akashi of Kappo Akashi using Eco-rice as well as a tasting of “Dassai” sake, the sake Prime Minister Abe offered President Obama during the U.S. President’s 2014 visit to Japan.

Jeff Santos, CEO of the Santos Media Group who hosted the seminar, introduced Mrs. Akia Abe. Santos described Mrs. Abe as an activist. Abe is actively engaged in supporting the NPO Project 88 and in promoting Fukushima’s agricultural industry by creating Yamato No Kokoro sake from rice produced in Fukushima.

Mrs. Akie Abe said that in 2011, in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake, she realized the importance of supporting Japanese food production, especially rice. With the encouragement of US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, Abe began to support the production of Fukushima rice and sake,

Abe described the production of rice in Japan as highly political. She said that 150 years ago, after extensive warring between the Chochu and Aizu clans. the two prefectures began to cultivate rice for sake and to brew sake, jointly. The joint effort was successful and the two prefectures now live in harmony.

Abe said that for Japanese, now as always, rice and sake are spiritual foods. “In Japan, we like to get our hands dirty [working the land.] We are a part of nature. We owe our gratitude to nature. It is my pleasure to work with rice producers and sake producers.”

She closed with a warm invitation: “Please enjoy the sushi and sake tasting today and please also come to Japan to enjoy them!”

Hiroshi Sakurai, President of Sake Brewery Asahi Shuzo, opened with praise for Japanese sake in general and Asahi Shuzo’s sake in particular. “Sake has to be ‘oishii’ (delicious) If it is not delicious what is the point of creating it? And our sake is especially ‘oishii!’”

Sakurai said that he wanted to show two world leaders enjoying Japanese sake, Prime Minister Abe and US President Barack Obama. Sakurai’s photo array displayed pictures from the U.S. President’s 2014 visit to Japan.

Sakurai said that his company, Asahi Shuzo, had partnered with the king of rice producers, Yamada Nishiki, accounting for 6.5 percent of total rice production in Japan. He has a staff of 100 and his employees are the best. Production is entirely by hand- they do not use machines. Production is around the clock, 24/7, to produce “oishii” sake.

Sakurai said that rice production in Japan is very eco- friendly. They recycle all that remains from rice production, such as rice husks, used to make sembei, or rice milk.

In closing, he said: “We are eager to promote our sake and we hope you enjoy the tasting.”

Nari Takashashi, President of NPO Project 88. Ms. Takahashi said that rice was the first food served to Fukushima quake victims. It was sometimes all that aged survivors could eat. And for those who could not eat plain rice she and her company developed soft rice cakes. They were very popular, as were their cream puffs.

Takahashi said that some kids with allergies couldn’t eat even the rice cookies or cream puffs. So she developed allergy-free cookies made with rice powder and delivered to the schools. Kids loved them.

Takahashi said that the application for allergy free products goes well beyond Fukushima. Survivors of the Kumamoto quake this past April are their next potential customers. She believes there is a huge market for these products world wide, especially to disaster survivors and to millennials.

After this spirited set of speeches, it was no surprise that the sushi and sake tastings were extraordinary.

October 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment