Japan mulling banning cesium-tainted rice shipments from Fukushima
17 Nov 2011
A farmer hangs rice straw to dry in her paddy in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 12. (Mainichi)
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government is considering banning shipments of cesium-contaminated rice from the Onami area in the city of Fukushima that was affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Thursday.
“We’re considering restricting shipments of rice harvested in the Onami area in the city of Fukushima…and we’ll draw a conclusion swiftly,” Fujimura, the government’s top spokesman, said at a press conference.
Excessive levels of radioactive cesium were found Wednesday in rice harvested in the area, the first time such levels of the isotope have been detected in the national staple since the crisis erupted at the Fukushima nuclear power station, crippled by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
A screen capture of a map released on Nov. 11 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology displaying accumulated radioactive cesium levels in eastern Japan. (Mainichi)
But Fujimura also said that rice containing excessive levels of cesium has not been put on the market so far as it was found in tests conducted before being shipped.
“I’ve heard the problem will not become serious,” he said, adding the government will continue to make efforts to prevent the spread of unfounded rumors about Japanese products being contaminated by radioactive substances.
(Mainichi Japan) November 17, 2011