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Fukushima village begins sowing rice for 1st time since nuclear disaster

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I hope it's clearly labeled when it gets to the supermarket shelf

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Disillusioned Today  07:11 am JST

I doubt if this rice will get to the supermarket. It will be sold off cheaply and used to make sake and sochu or, it will end up in your convenience store onigiri (rice ball).

This. It will be sold to food producers and chain restaurants. And they will never say who bought it.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I think it's great that Japan uses a special kind of nuclear fuel in their reactors that only produces radiation that fades away in a few years. Well done Japan!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I doubt if this rice will get to the supermarket. It will be sold off cheaply and used to make sake and sochu or, it will end up in your convenience store onigiri (rice ball).

9 ( +13 / -4 )

the Japanese government has been supportive and very transparent despite

Really? I find that seriously hard to believe.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Good for these farmers. We all know TEPCO screwed up, however the real victims of the nuclear disaster are the people living in the area. Many people will not be able to go back to their homes. Many others have lost their livelihoods.

Radiation levels in this area (Iitate) are and have been normal since nearly right after the disaster. Fukushima Daichi was a disaster but the real environmental problem is the water being continuously dumped into the ocean.

TEPCO and the government (due to their negligent lack of oversight) should buy the land from the people in the exclusion zone and pay for their relocation. TEPCO and the government should also pay for the necessary testing to convince people the rice from Iitate is safe to eat

What should not happen is that the victims continue to be punished.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

At the event, Japan's senior vice foreign minister Kentaro Sonoura also noted that "while reconstruction and recovery work is steadily making progress, the reputation damage from the nuclear accident still remains even after six years."

And you should, along with everyone else involved, take a long look in a mirror to understand why the reputation was damaged in the first place. Don't blame the meltdown, nor the tsunami, nor the earthquake. Point a finger at yourselves.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I hope it IS clearly labeled. People should check the characteristics of this rice several times before venturing into this.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Hope it is not 'for exports only.'

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I hope it's clearly labeled when it gets to the supermarket shelf

It will be mixed with other rice, this is how Japan has deallt with radioactive contamination since 2011 = dilute

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Overseas companies, etc are just as prone to those practices and scandals. yet Japan has had pig flue bird flu mad cow foot in mouth diseases. food mislabeling scandals and to top it off radiation contamination. So japans food safety Japan, mentality seems to be an illusion.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@Ron: Lets watch the locals eat their own rice first.,

I have been to different parts of Fukushima on numerous occasions after the disaster (work and leisure). Most of the times I have visited local farmers' markets and have seen with my own eyes that the locals buy what is produced there. I have bought local produce on each of my visits there, too.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I really don't understand why anyone wants to do this.. there are so many other towns and places around Japan that could use some farmers I have no doubt..

4 ( +11 / -7 )

The rice is radioactive.... Because the airborne alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation is still present in the environment or are they saying it was miraculously cleaned up but not.... So the rice is radioactive.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

good for them, these people have been through so much, including disparaging remarks and bullying and bad publicity, they are resilient and I support them 100%. Must be terrible to be displaced in the snap of a finger...

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Tepco screwed up? Oh. You mean by saving the entire region from nuclear contamination and loss of life? 

Wow a TEPCO supporter. Yes they saved everyone from their own created catastrophe then lied to the people they were "saving". Then raised the rates on those people to pay for cleaning up their own disaster. Great job TEPCO!

4 ( +9 / -5 )

This rice should be packaged sold & fed to top "management" at tepco & make sure they eat ALL of it!

I would like to trust authorities, but I just cant, so so many food scandals & cover ups over the years have left me simply not trusting them, YMMV

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Dango Bong - minamata was an accident, 

Minamata was no accident! It took fives years and hundreds of severely deformed babies before the government would even acknowledge it. Now, here are farmers returning to irradiated areas and the government is stating we must believe this rice will be fit for human consumption. It's quite coincidental that, the Minamata poisoning was caused by a fraudulent Japanese corporation and that it took just over five years. to get acknowledgement. The moderator removed my previous post referring to Minamata, but these situations are nearly exactly the same, just different chemicals.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

kiyoshiMukai: "Its not obligatory to eat that rice even that the FAO chief said its safe, it can be given to any country with starving people"

Such a typically Japanese attitude, even from one who is not Japanese. Maybe they can start by shipping it to your Caribbean island. THe cost of producing it only so it can fobbed off onto poorer countries because no one here wants it would be too high, and no doubt subsidized by the people living here and paying taxes.

Triring: "Origin of produce is labeled by prefecture so you'll at least see Fukushima labeled on it. As for radiation..."

BS. It SHOULD be labelled by prefecture, but the law is not specific, and they can label 'by region'. Hence, seafood from the affected areas to date have not been labelled by prefecture, but as "Pacific Ocean". Not a lie, but certainly not specific, with the prefecture label avoided for specific reasons. I guarantee that this will be labelled "Domestic rice", not "Fukushima rice", and even if it IS labelled the latter, the rice not sold will be sent to school lunch companies, the rice ground into feed for animals nation wide (except cows raised in Omi -- they probably would stop there since the don't want to take the risk when it comes to reputation), and put in convenience store onigiris and bentos, or just mixed in with older rice. It will NOT be labelled clearly.

Dango Bango: "They will and they will still have a longer life span than every Western country on earth."

You act like they'll put it in their mouths and drop dead tomorrow. Stats are showing Japan's life-span is going to catch up with the rest of the world (which is to say, drop while they increase) in the very near future, as the era of Centennarians die out and their children have already been buried with diseases that came about after WWII and with the very different diet and lifestyle. THe average lifespan includes those currently over 100, who grew up in a very different world and with a very different way of living. Most of their children are dead.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@kiyoshiMukai

Your math is good... but is no much to my Kung-fu.

Japan's rice consumption is not only as "rice", but you have to take in consideration that includes all types of derivatives from rice.. some such as, Sembei, Sake, Amazake, Rice Flour, etc.

So "rice consumed every 13 minutes in a year. Much?"... yes Much.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So long as they accurately label it and test it, let the consumer decide. No, "let's make ambassadors eat it to prove it's safe!" or, "Not buying from Fukushima makes them feel bad, so we should share the burden!" garbage. And no, "Northern Japan" vague labels. Say where it's from, and if people want it, they'll buy it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It should be served to all the TEPCO bosses who helped make the situation worse by putting their heads in the sand.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Don't think there's much to worry about really. The radiation in  Iitate has been low or normal background. The tonnage produced will be low and probably consumed locally. It will be tested for radiation, and the Japanese standard is one-tenth of the international one. There could be rice grown in other locations which isn't tested since its outside of the previous exclusion zone, like Miyagi or Gumma which was also heavily contaminated and be above the limits of the standard.

http://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/site/portal-english/en01-03.html

Would I buy this rice, probably not, but only because we buy the local rice to support our community. I read a story recently about mothers in who are testing their own foods.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35784923

Seafood is not labelled from where it was caught, but from the port where the catch is landed. That happens in every country.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you truly belief if gets mixed with other, etc.

Then forget buying anything labeled kokusan(local produce) and only buy from overseas after checking for recalls, mislabeling, etc of course.

Overseas companies, etc are just as prone to those practices and scandals.

Just my 0.2yen(devalued).

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Do you REALLY see the world in such black and white terms that someone cannot say something good about TEPCO without being on some kind of team?

No but you have to make a serious effort to dig up something positive to say about a company that created a disaster, lied about it and then charged their victims to cover the cost

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Wtfjapan.

No different from the UK/US/etc.

Of course only going by what gets reported in the media. Recent US recall(4 states) because the suspected a baseball(huh) got mixed in.

Or the all to frequent ground beef recalls.

Buyers of exported goods also read those.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

BS. It SHOULD be labelled by prefecture, but the law is not specific, and they can label 'by region'. Hence, seafood from the affected areas to date have not been labelled by prefecture, but as "Pacific Ocean". Not a lie, but certainly not specific, with the prefecture label avoided for specific reasons. I guarantee that this will be labelled "Domestic rice", not "Fukushima rice", and even if it IS labelled the latter, the rice not sold will be sent to school lunch companies, the rice ground into feed for animals nation wide (except cows raised in Omi -- they probably would stop there since the don't want to take the risk when it comes to reputation), and put in convenience store onigiris and bentos, or just mixed in with older rice. It will NOT be labelled clearly.

It's based by law. You don't even live in Japan and yet you try to make yourself look as some kind of expert.

By the way fish is labeled by which port they were unloaded and only applies to whole fish and not cut fish.

So if you go to the fish market and see a frozen Tuna sold in whole you see it to be labeled as Yaezu or some other ports but it probably came from the Indian Ocean.

Same with onigiris and bentos since they are processed they are not required to be labelled by prefecture.

The ones called Musenmai or rice not requiring cleansing also falls into this catagory not required to label place of origin.

Got it, now go to some other site to vent off you ignorance.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Given a choice, we won't buy it. I absolutely loathe all things nuclear. Hate nuclear.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So how many of you were out there with radiation detection devices inspecting every square inch of the farmland?

There were many measuring the radiation levels. You should read up on the Safe Cast site.

http://blog.safecast.org

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What should not happen is that the victims continue to be punished.

What? And break with millennia-old Japanese tradition? That would be like negating the unique four seasons.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@penfold. It won't be marked as origin it will be mixed with othe prefectures as per normal practice. The rice will only be 99bequeils and never over 100, the limit. No test will be done for strontium, and cesium tests are done in seconds. Read the label in Japan if you live here, a beqreil here, a few there....it all adds up.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Origin of produce is labeled by prefecture so you'll at least see Fukushima labeled on it. As for radiation, things does not suddenly become radioactive when bombarded because nature mainly consists of light atoms which are stable. The biggest cause of radioactivity within product is when living organisms takes in the radioactive isotopes into the body as nutrients resulting to Bio-accumulation at the top of the food chain like ourselves.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The entire area should be blocked off for 100 years and the residents reimbursed. Radioactive pollution is not going to be sympathetic

1 ( +5 / -4 )

5SpeedRacer5, while I agree with many of your opinions, this one needs hedging, quote: "These people are not ghouls, they would not sell something if they would not eat it themselves, OR if it did not meet regulations. People just are not like that. I can rely on their vigilance and good intentions."

Regarding vigilance and good intentions, government regulation and personal safety consciousness. Something I have heard from rice farmers over the last 40 years here is that in order to sell rice, they need to show it has been treated with a certain level of pesticide/preservative. Each farmer grows such rice to sell, which they themselves will not eat. (Not only rice, but fruit, etc.) 'Safe' low-pesticide rice they will grow separately and keep stored at home for family consumption. One farmer assured me that to his knowledge everyone does this.

So yes, you'd think, but in practise people do the calculations.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I would feel more comfortable if the rice was independently checked by and out side country and experts from that country. thats one barrier the farmers will have to get over, the next is consumer confidence, that will come when the first issue is addressed. I wish the farmer all the best as they have had a tough time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Dango bong

Do you really think the Japanese government want to poison their own people?

That's like one of those voting question that wants a "yes or no answer" but either actually answer the question. I guess the government does not want to poison its people but it seems unable to always be in 100% control of its own actions or external events. There are the lies and coverups like the Minamata Disease from mercury poisoning. Following the nuclear disaster there were some problems with mislabeling of food product and there were a whole load of down playing and even denying the reactor meltdowns.

So its natural people should worry about their food safety and the mothers who have started their own monitoring services. Sometimes the facts get pushed into conspiracies and people invent their own alternative facts. Cause and effect.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

6 years after Fukushima Daiichi Units 1,2&3 Exploded and melted down. Muon Energy Location Technology (MELT) has located radioactive corium however TEPCO and Toshiba have refused to release locations. Not one ☝️ milligram out 210 metric tons of radioactive corium has been removed in six years. This shameful display of hubris by TEPCO and Toshiba is allowed by the citizens and farmers who have their heads buried in the sand. Please. Please. Please Stand Up for yourself. Stop ✋ planting rice. Clean your mess up. Your soil is filthy and your complicit ignorance is no excuse. Demand TEPCO and Toshiba release MELT study results. Next clean up all 210 metric tons of radioactive corium from Fukushima Daiichi Units 1,2 &3 and only then please resume pastoral husbandry famous rice farming in Iitate.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@Disillusioned minamata was an accident, and it happened in 1956. If you think the government is plotting to kill you then renew your subscription to Alex Jones and put a new tin foil hat on

0 ( +5 / -5 )

You can easily find rice from Saitama prefecture, Yamagata prefecture or other prefecture. By the time you try to find the one from Fukushima the only thing you got are 国内産(Kokunaisan) or 国産(Kokusan). Yes, it hides using that label. So expect more product to come by harvest time.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What an excellent and positive article. I am seeing international organizations, national organizations, the national government, and Fukushima local governments all getting behind ONE MESSAGE and saying it loudly.

There is some disagreement in the comments about safety this and that. I have to say that I have studied this out and I have eaten produce from Fukushima since long before the quake and nothing has changed my habits. Some things became unavailable in 2012 and 2013, I recall, but I have never avoided anything that has come onto the market.

I think Dango mentions it above. These people are not ghouls, they would not sell something if they would not eat it themselves, OR if it did not meet regulations. People just are not like that. I can rely on their vigilance and good intentions.

Can I emphasize this one more time? There is a broad consensus that there is nothing to fear from Fukushima products or people. Let the bullying of Fukushima stop today. Let's publicly acknowledge that people are doing their best, whatever private difficulties persist. The 64 year old farmer sums it up. He just wants things back the way they were. People are working hard for that, and they are achieving it.

And that is good news.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

While I certainly won't buy bulk rice from Fukushima, I'm concerned we'll all be getting Fukushima produced rice from restaurants. I wonder if people could refuse to eat in restaurants that don't state where there rice is from?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

There is no such thing as accumulation effect in rice. It's at the bottom of the food chain and is a one year plant.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Stats are showing Japan's life-span is going to catch up with the rest of the world (which is to say, drop while they increase) i

which stats? I see stats that show the opposite, the gap getting bigger

0 ( +3 / -3 )

My guess is that it'll be mixed into gyomu-yo rice, ostensibly for commercial uses like restaurants but bought by anyone looking to save money. This may include schools, care homes, prisons, etc. To avoid it, buy rice with a clearly marked prefecture.

I seem to remember watching a video of a public meeting where a Tohoku farmer was protesting that he was having to sell produce he would not eat himself, so I wouldn't jump to any "they're happy to sell it" conclusion. Maybe someone knows the link.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A quick match tells me that thise 7 hectareas can produce 70 metric tons of rice. And japan annual rice consumption is 8,500,000 metric tons of rice.

So its the rice consumed every 13 minutes in a year. Much? Don't think so

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If I went to a lunch time restaurant and it said the rice was from Fukushima, would I eat it. Yes! Would I give it to my 4-year-old kid

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why aren't the fields being tested?Maybe, they have been deeply plowed and new soil added and then seeded?

And then, what was too radioactive becomes less so!

Then, a prayer is said that maybe what comes out of those fields is 'under government limits'

To consume rice with higher levels of radiation or not ?

Surely, that's a no-brainer, isn't it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JA do test and Government Test independently also. But they had lie before and pass it for human consumption. Posters here can remember the government getting caught out on contaminated rice a few years ago. Like I live in the north (Iwate) and eat local when I can. I go out of my way to buy local. If I live in Fukushima I would still by local product. When you have been a grower and deal with growers you knows they will not knowingly sell you anything contaminated.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree that Tepco is not to blame for the accident and that they have worked hard to reign this thing in.

But just because they're trying hard doesn't mean that the rice grown is safe. Wishing away a problem (radiation) won't make it go away.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smithinjapan my attitude towards this topic is at it is. Giving that rice for free to poor countries is the best they can do. That rice is perfectly safe for cobsumption and these people in need will gladly tale them and by the way its not obligatory, now go back to bend pipes for a life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mmm... A healthy dose of arsenic and radiation! ^_^

I find Japanese rice too expensive in America, so I do not buy it anyway. But I am glad Fukushima is trying to bring back what once was, but they do need to clearly label it and that also includes restaurants using it informing their customers because they have the right to know.

However to be fair I do not buy American rice either due to the higher content of arsenic, because certain states went from growing cotton to rice, but the chemicals used on the cotton stayed in the soil.

Also, at least that I am aware of, America does not label which state it is grown in, so better safe than sorry and not buy any of it from the USA. That might be the fate of Japan if they do not separate the normal rice from the Fukushima one.

Oh Japanese will still buy Japanese rice for sure, but others may not and even still some Japanese may not either. Again better safe than sorry... But good luck Fukushima.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

A four years back a few farmer committed suicide due to there rice being over the limit. They were reassured by the government that it was below levels. Farmer know the fields and had a bad feeling about the quality of their crops so farmers started to get their rice crop independently access and found out the government was telling them pork pies. A few farmer got very guilt ridden and committed suicide after finding out that their rice was being directed to respite hospitals and feeding the elderly.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Don't think there's much to worry about really.

Wow zichi we agree on something. But some people just need to have conspiracies to get through the day. Do you really think the Japanese government want to poison their own people? Geeeez

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Dango bong: "Do you really think the Japanese government want to poison their own people?"

Want to? Probably not. Do it to save a buck? Absolutely. They've done it before, and they'll do it again. Or do they not send mercury tainted meat to schools? Never heard of Minamata Disease? They lied about that while letting people eat from tainted sources as well, to save their reputation. So, again, want to? no. Do it anyway? yes. Not conspiracy -- fact.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I wonder how many people congratulating this will be first in line to buy and eat it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Simple question. Would you recommend it to your children/grandchildren?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Hope it's not mixed with Ryukyuan rice.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Wow a TEPCO supporter. Yes"

Whoa. Wait a minute. I don't have any pompoms or a skirt and sweater that says TEPCO on it. Do you REALLY see the world in such black and white terms that someone cannot say something good about TEPCO without being on some kind of team?

I have my own opinions about TEPCO based on my knowledge, experience and observations. I happen to think that they, as any corporation, try to provide a good or service with some profit margin to a group of customers. Before 3.11, who would have argued that they were not doing that job in an excellent way? Who? Nobody I ever saw posting here, and I have used this site almost from day 1.

Based on that, what changed on 3.11? Same company. Same guys. Same mission. Except that NOW the whole world is watching and they have a crisis that could cost millions of lives? Do you get that? Can you process that? They did not CAUSE the quake, or the tsunami or the blackout anymore than you or I did. The plans for the plant were from GE, a US company, and the placement of every piece of apparatus was decided by dozens of knowledgeable, qualified, people who did not foresee the tsunami/blackout/quake any better than anyone else.

And those guys at TEPCO, with families who live there, risked their lives to bring that monster under control, and THEY DID IT! They saved my life. I have no doubt about it. And my community and everyone I know. To have such a potentially horrible accident and to limit the deaths to zero is just amazing.

Maybe this site has some superheroes posting, but I doubt it. But maybe I will ask anyway. How many lives did you save on 3.11? If you did not experience it, I don't expect you to understand. Some people had worse days than others, but everyone had a bad day. I expect that most people did their duty as they saw fit, with greater or lesser consequence.

I really don't support TEPCO at all and I have nothing whatsoever to do with the company and I never have. I DO however, call baseball games sometimes to support my community, so I am pledged to call em as I see em.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The biggest cause of radioactivity within product is when living organisms takes in the radioactive isotopes into the body as nutrients resulting to Bio-accumulation at the top of the food chain like ourselves.

Where did you get your degree in biophysics? I guarantee you the Japanese government is not trying to poison their own population

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Lets watch the locals eat their own rice first., 

They will and they will still have a longer life span than every Western country on earth.

That is touch to do when your government is supposedly trying to slaughter the population with hidden radioactivity haha

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Maybe they will get 4 crops a year.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So how many of you were out there with radiation detection devices inspecting every square inch of the farmland? I'm positive the answer is no one so you need not talk like you know the radiation level is anything higher than what naturally occurs. Don't worry JT commenters, professionals know what's best and not everything is a government conspiracy against you. So rest easy and oyasumi.

Congratulations to Fukukshima and it's farmers, I hope this helps get you closer to normalcy up there.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Lets watch the locals eat their own rice first., How was the Soil decontaminated it amazes me how gullible people are with Radiation levels and its concentration in plant food from ground water . Is because the Government dont want to make Tepco pay compensation that they release erounus levels of radiation they forget about the accumulation effect in food products like rice fish beef pork etc

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"Good for these farmers. We all know TEPCO screwed up, however the real victims of the nuclear disaster are the people living in the area. Many people will not be able to go back to their homes. Many others have lost their livelihoods."

I think one should speak for oneself, first of all. I think every one of these statements sounds reasonable at first blush, but the whole thing needs to be parsed.

Good for these farmers? Well, yeah. They are getting back to life more or less as usual. I think that is great. It would be even better if it were not news and if EVERYONE were getting on with their lives as they see fit. Let's remember that this kind of story could be any small village where people have not been able to rebuild, and there are A LOT of them still. This one is in the news because "Fukushima."

Tepco screwed up? Oh. You mean by saving the entire region from nuclear contamination and loss of life? Yeah. What a bunch of lowlifes. They deserve our derision for cleaning up a mess caused by a 1000 year tsunami, the strongest earthquake in Japan on record, and a regional blackout. They are continuing to work the problem, which I think is admirable.

The REAL victims of the nuclear disaster are ALL OF US, not just the people who lived in Fukushima. Hysteria over the last six years has stressed people out, taken money from our pockets and public coffers. And it is still doing so. One needs a balanced and mature view of the event and aftermath. A simple "criminal/victim" characterization is facile and not constructive.

Many people will not be able to go back to their homes, but not nearly as many as those who CHOOSE not to, or who have already CHOSEN not to do so, despite exhaustive clean up efforts. And many have lost their livelihoods, just like a lot of people up and down the Tohoku coast.

So, those are all nice sentiments, but not all people do not share them with you as you think they do.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Well, at least this is a little bit safer than China's fake (plastic) rice.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Its not obligatory to eat that rice even that the FAO chief said its safe, it can be given to any country with starving people

-20 ( +2 / -22 )

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