As 'trial' fishing resumes, Fukushima battles to win back consumers

By Noriyuki Suzuki

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.


©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

First off, it's important to see locally caught fish return to the shelves where they used to be, and hopefully sold in the same price range as before," said Sawada of the local fishery association.

As a consumer, I seriously hope that they never get sold "in the same price range as before".

Do you want 10 people buying ¥10,000 fish, or 100 people buying ¥1,000 fish?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"It's possible to argue for the safety of fish by presenting the data we collect. But whether that can reassure consumers is a different story"

The perfect quote for everything nuclear related. You can objectively show that fears of people are unfounded, but people just continue to be fearful.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

This article talks a lot about hopes and fears and stigmas but has no empirical data to prove it safe to eat the fish

26 ( +26 / -0 )

It’s difficukt to believe anything that comes from Japanese government agencies. The problem is, these fish are only batch tested. It’s impossibke to test every fish. Fish do not live in one place and follow different eating habits. Even the flounder in the photo do not live in large schools or stay in the same area. This makes difficult to believe the fish are free from contamination. The only positive thing is, like Chernobyl, the exclusion zone is becoming a fish and wildlife sanctuary albeit, a radioactive one.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Yes, Flatfish. Bottom eaters. Bring them on.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Although the pacific halibut dwells mainly on the seabed, it is anything but a bottom feeder. It lies in ambush and can dart up to catch prey swimming above at surprising speeds.

As a primary hunter, it eats only live prey, and is not attracted to the scent of carrion.

It’s not uncommon to see a halibut breach the surface of the water when attacking a school of baitfish.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I am by far not the smartest person in the world but, from my own research into things nuclear,the life of some of the different types of radiation lasts for a VERY VERY LONG time. And it seems like since there is not much focus in the media on the Meltdown, that it somehow gives a false sense of relief that things are much better.Even neighboring cities are still giving off high levels of radioactivity readings that are considered higher than normal, who would want to knowingly eat anything that has been exposed to so much radiation.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I'd ask for scientific data first but then I don't know if I would be able to trust it anyway. Perhaps we can invite some researchers from abroad to give us 100% actual reliable proof.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

When asked about the reason, 27.9 percent said they prefer buying items that do not include radioactive substances

I gotta admit. I'm funny that way, too.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The perfect quote for everything nuclear related. You can objectively show that fears of people are unfounded, but people just continue to be fearful.

How silly of them after watching the roof of Fukushima Da-ichi blow off live on TV.

6 ( +10 / -4 )


3 ( +5 / -2 )

Excuse my scepticim about a safety of  Fukushima fish report coming out of Kyodo news agency.

N-power supporters  - go ahead ,knock yourself out but for myself , ass much as possible I,ll stay clear of their products.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

No thank you. There are many other places where there is no such problem, so consumers are free to choose those areas.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I understand that they need to restore business there and people need to earn money somehow-but not like this. School kids were reported having thyroid problems even away from Fukushima-and when it comes to living things in water, they definitely have radioactive particles just by swimming in that area.

Who will take the blame if massive nuclear substance poisoning happens?

It was also ridiculous when they were pushing South Korea to buy Japanese fish recently-obviously, SK can not check where the fish comes from, and they shouldn't be forced to buy it to sustain Japanese economy, since event the locals don't want to buy anything from Fukushima (I dont want it even for free).

All in all, they need to build new businesses in Fukushima, not related with food.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Are the people in Fukushima eating these fish? How would they test with a geiger counter? Is there any 3rd party agency doing this ? More data is needed, not just, " I hope people will start eating our fish".

6 ( +7 / -1 )

! Wow it's magic. Usually it takes about 30 to 1,000 years for iodionizing radionuclides to disappear, but hey it's gone. Wow.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Well, I ain't eating that.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I'd ask for scientific data first but then I don't know if I would be able to trust it anyway. Perhaps we can invite some researchers from abroad to give us 100% actual reliable proof.

papigiulio - that's one of the biggest social problems of Japan in a nutshell, a vacuum of trust that people have of each other resulting from generations of bull'''' from companies and government, which I think has a really corrosive effect on society here. That's my conclusion from extrapolating from my rather paranoid Japanese wife and other people I know, I'd be interested to hear others' opinions.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Radiation has been flowing freely into the ocean for 7 years. Go ahead eat the delicious fish and you will glow green at night, by the way you may also grow a tail and new pair of eyes on top of your head

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It's funny the extent that Propaganda will go to. I'm not a PH.D. recipient, but the clean up all good...not at all. Foods safe? ...don't think so. Temporary houses designed to last 2 years 7 years latter no problem, the narrative seems to be missing reality.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Fish is a difficult one. It's impossible to track where fish went and where fish came from. Fish caught off the Fukushima coast and landed in Fukushima will be labelled Fukushima. The same fish landed in Tokyo or Hokkaido will be labelled from there.

Fish landed at Fukushima is batch tested for radiation contamination levels while the same fish landed in Tokyo or Hokkaido will not.

We have made a dangerous mess of our oceans and environment. The seas are contaminated with chemicals and huge quantities of plastics.

We haven't respected the nature which gives our foods.

All or many foods worldwide are contaminated with various levels of radiation, not only fish off Fukushima.

The levels of allowable radiation in fish set by the EU and international limits are 500 bq/kg. Japan has set the limit at 100 bq/kg. In Fukushima the fisheries have set it at 50 bq/kg.

We eat fish and have continued to eat it mostly from Hokkaido or Kyushu but again those are simply the landing ports not the catch areas.

The radiation contamination levels in fish will be less than land based foods like farm animals, grains and vegetables.

On one side there will be the groups and individuals claiming everything is contaminated and dangerous to eat and the opposing groups and individuals claiming everything is safe.

The debate continues whether even low levels of radiation can cause serious health problems. Hundreds of thousands die globally from air pollution.

Science Report

"After Fukushima: Radiation Levels in Food Predicted"

Dr. Keiko Tagami, a co-author at the Japanese National Institute of Radiological Sciences said: “This study gives us the evidence to explain to people how contamination levels will change over time. It gives us confidence that radiation doses in the average diet in the Fukushima region are very low and do not present a significant health risk now or in the future.

Foods from Fukushima is being tested. Foods from other prefectures are not.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

They laid a concrete floor in the harbour at Fukushima NPP to cover over the accumulated Cesium and other heavy stuff. I do not remember the exact figures, but the rough calculation was that the concrete might last 50 years by which time the Cesium emitted in the initial disater would be one half-life down.

Of course, the theory was based upon no subsequent emissions, and a stable and undisturbed seabed. With bottom-feeders in the area, further spills and thousands of aftershocks, such fish will naturally be a hard sell to a sceptical public.

Balanced against that is the fact that many radioactive substances such as tritium are found naturally in seawater anyway.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'd ask for scientific data first but then I don't know if I would be able to trust it anyway.

Exactly this!^ The details around Fukushima have been so sketchy from the start, ever since we were told 'everything is under control'. Occasionally we get proof that numbers have been intentionally fudged by the LDP, and that's not to mention the cases of lying that fly under the radar here.

There is no way I believe anything is 'safe' just because the government and its lapdogs say so.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Shipping the fish off to Thailand. Genius! They won’t know, nor care where it came from. Hate to say folks it seems like an aweful lot of work and effort in a direction that will not yield results. Unless you totally hide the source of the fish NO ONE apart from these chosen spokespeople of the fish industry itself are going to want to eat fish from Fukushima if they have a choice. It’s sad and not the fault of the fisherman , but it is what it is. All the good intentions , PR and politicians feeding their kids fish nuggets ain’t gunna cut it. The disaster is ongoing and on many fronts , no matter how much you want to be in denial.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It has almost been 7rs now & like many others WHERE THE HELL IS THE DATA!!!

For crying out loud data is supposedly been collected but I have seen pretty much nothing that is meaningful, just the odd random numbers tossed out on occasion.

There are zero graphs of data taken over time that I have seen

Sadly as usual Japan has totally blown this!

And since they have obviously been withholding this data, when/if they ever start to release it there is no way in hell anyone can reasonably trust it.

The mess continues

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Absolutely no confidence in what the J. Govt says about safety of fish from Fukushima. I wouldn't even be surprised if they're transporting products from Fukushima to another region, relabelling the source as being from there, and then distributing it around the place.

As for selling Flat fish to Thailand... was it labelled as coming from Fukushima in Thai ?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I hope non of these tests on radiation have been falsified ( unlike a few other companies ) the positive side to this is that the local fish stocks have had time to recover, these fish are most likely safer to eat than fish caught in the Tokyo area or other areas, the reason for this is that they have been tested and tested, unlike another fish from other areas have had NO testing, what with pollution from ships, microscopic plastic, these are probably safer!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )


there's an overwhelming amount of data on every aspect of the nuclear disaster and Fukushima. There are the investigation reports. The government central and Fukushima government data. SAFECAST site for radiation readings. Reports by many international organizations including radiation in the sea. There are an endless number of blogs predicting disaster and the end of the world. If anything, there is just too much to read. Don't ask for any links just spend an evening on Google.


fish in all countries is labelled where it was landed not where it was catched.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@zichi. You always site safecast. I have spent a lot of volunteer work and money on equipment moniteering the reality of the post nuclear disaster. I offered my data to safecast, but they refused.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )


@zichi. You always site safecast. I have spent a lot of volunteer work and money on equipment moniteering the reality of the post nuclear disaster. I offered my data to safecast, but they refused.

Yes you have said that and I don't even know if they accept readings from people or their activities are based on their own readings. Submitted readings by anyone would have to be verified to ensure accuracy.

I believe SAFECAST are the best non government and independent group monitoring the radiation.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Despite not mentioning at all what the testing showed, if they can sell the fish again, great. But too often you hear about mislabeling, lying, and bullying by both the industry and government when the choice should ultimately be up to the consumer, and this only leads to more doubt about the validity of any results. How many times have we heard, "We'll give it to foreign nationals/ambassadors/representatives/athletes to PROVE it's safe"? How many times have we heard the government literally DEMAND South Korea and other nations resume imports from the area? You don't demand and threaten, then say it's regrettable there are trust issues... you gain the trust back first and then hope that eventually people are won over through good faith and even leading by example.

And as for returning to previous prices, forget it. Sorry if these guys can't make a living it a flat fish doesn't go for a small fortune and only sells for as much as fish should go for, but that's an altogether different problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ clamenza, I wish I had read your comments earlier I was lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The radiation checks are less than rigorous. A few weeks ago there was a picture in the paper of the checks they do on rice. They pass the entire sack of rice through a radiation detector. This means they are basically measuring the radioactivity of the sack and not the rice inside. The tests do at least confirm the sacks are safe to eat.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Testing radiation levels in foods with a GeigerCounter isn't a reliable method. The level of any reading will also include any background radiation.

If the natural background radiation around you is 0.10 uSv/h and contaminant in the fish emits 0.02 uSv/h, then GeigerCounter will naturally continue showing .10, because that’s how many radiation particles it is detecting in your immediate vicinity. 

Measuring the radiation level in foods means destroying the item and can't be sold after the test. Meat fruit fish vegetables have to be chopped up prior to testing.

For those who are concerned there are commercial scanner available even if they don't give the most accurate readings.

One good story

Fukushima moms don lab coats to measure radiation in food, sand and soil

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Does anyone really know how much of and what radioactive elements are safe to ingest?

To do such a study would be a crime, so the answer has to be No!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese people are tired to continue to worry Radioactivity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites