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Imperial palace receives Fukushima rice at emperor's request

41 Comments

Some of the first rice harvested in Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture since the March 11, 2011 disaster was delivered to the imperial palace in Tokyo this week after the emperor expressed a desire to eat rice from the area.

The Imperial Household Agency said 120 kilograms of Koshihikari premium rice was delivered on Tuesday, Fuji TV reported.

The town of Hirono lies within the 30-kilometer radius of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Decontamination of the town's rice paddies was completed earlier this year and rice cultivation resumed.

Following the autumn harvest, the town decided to use the rice to launch a public relations campaign by sending packages of the first harvest to the prime minister, the Diet and the imperial palace.

An Imperial Household Agency spokesman said that the rice would be served in the dining halls for all personnel to enjoy, as well as at the emperor and empress's private residence, Fuji reported.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made a two-day visit to Fukushima in July. At that time, they received a briefing on the progress of the decontamination work and the significance of the rice harvest to the local communities. The emperor remarked that "the people of Hirono have endured many hardships, and despite this, have worked diligently to produce this harvest and thus we too wish to enjoy this joyous occasion."

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41 Comments
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Way to go, Aki. i doubt if this will change the minds of most people, but at least he is trying to do his part.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

I hope he read that letter from that politician and he is actually testing the rice rather than eating it.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

good! They should try the fish and other vegetables too from as close to 20km zone.... to show solidarity!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

It's one thing for an 80-year old to eat contaminated rice, completely different for a child to do so. I sincerely doubt any of this rice will end up in the chopsticks of Princess Mako, Princess Kako, or Prince Hisahito.

26 ( +34 / -8 )

Decontamination of the town's rice paddies was completed earlier...

Is it that easy to do? really?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

s it that easy to do? really?

no, but that wouldn't be such a warm fuzzy buzz.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

delivered... where is the proof? eaten... where is the proof? just a media stunt as always. why on earth would you eat that?

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Of course, the rice will be thoroughly tested or it already has been. I think the emperor will eat it, and the empress, too. It is a nice gesture. I'm doing my bit for Fukushima farmers, too. I bought their peaches during the summer and I'll buy their rice if it is sold in my local supermarket.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

It involves removing the dirt about 40-50 cm deep and adding new dirt on top of a clay base. They've been working on it over a year now.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Good for them, deciding to trust science and help people rather be consumed with blind fear.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

It just proves the lengths they have to go to restore some kind of consumer confidence after all the BS they've been spouting.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

A great gesture from the Emperor. The most dangerous thing for people in the Fukushima area is stress caused by fear mongering.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

If the Fukushima rice tests at less than 100 becquerels per kilo it's as safe as any Japan produce you're buying in the store because that is the national safety standard limit to be allowed to sell rice and vegetables.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Hirono is located about 20 km south of the site of the nuclear disaster. Most the released radiation went north, north-west or out to sea.a The area was evacuated following the nuclear disaster but people returned to the area in March 2012.

Many of the former 5,300 residents haven't returned. The radiation background level is about 4-5 times higher than in Tokyo. Its also the site of the stadium which TEPCO uses as the J-Village but it will now be returned back to a stadium. The TEPCO owned fossil-fuel powered Hirono Power Station is located there.

PM Abe was presented with rice back in October.

Much of the area was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami. Only 100 of the previous 320 rice farmers planted rice this year.

I think the rice is being bought by the gov't and not for general sale. After 5 years of storage it will be used as animal feed. But some farmers are selling directly to the public and not to the JA?

The emperor who grows his own rice is too old to be concerned about any contamination in the rice.

The incumbent mayors in the city of Nihonmatsu and the town of Hirono in Fukushima Prefecture lost their re-election bids on Nov. 24, as did the Governor Sato who lost to an independent.

The gov't have spent ¥billions trying to decontaminate the area inside the former and current no go zone and had admitted its not reducing the levels of radiation and taking much longer than first estimated.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

The most dangerous thing for people in the Fukushima area is stress caused by fear mongering.

no it's not just stress, it's thyroid cancer in young people. More and more cases every month.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

question is,will the Emperor also feed this rice to the Children in the Royal household?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Sigh, everyone changing the topic back to radiation etc,

How about just congratulating the old dude for doing something decent. He isnt promoting the rice or trying to advertise it as safe (unlike what the govt is probably doing as a result of this but), instead he is trying to support some people who are in dire need of it.

Hats off to you sir

1 ( +8 / -7 )

"The most dangerous thing for people in the Fukushima area is stress caused by fear mongering.

no it's not just stress, it's thyroid cancer in young people. More and more cases every month."

no every decent internatinal study always find that its stress

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You gotta love the idea here that sending out a potentially tainted product for consumption is somehow proof that "it's okay"!

"We'll hold a party for international diplomats and serve only food from the affected areas to 'prove' it's okay!", etc., really doesn't fly. They will DEFINITELY be testing it before it's served to the emperor and family, and even if he were to eat contaminated rice -- it wouldn't do all that much as the guy is quite old and probably doesn't have too long left at any rate.

A nice gesture, but not necessarily a smart example.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Many people dont know, but the majority of people are eating stuffs from those area without knowing that. I ate food from those areas like thousand of people did.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Makes no difference to the emperor. He is dying any way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's fine, and he can buy my share of the rice, too, but I do feel sorry for the royal food taste tester.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The air borne radiation levels in Futaba District where Hirono is located are still very high.

Nov 28 @ 1900 hrs, 19,079 nanosieverts or 19.07 microsieverts/hr.

Fukushima Dai-ichi, Nov 27, @ 2330 hrs 147,000 nanosieverts or 147 microsieverts/hr. Windspeed 5.9 m/s. http://jciv.iidj.net/map/

The problem with radiation is that it does not disappear just after a few years. It will take many decades.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

They may have received the rice but that does not mean they will eat it. Maybe they will let their servants eat it and see if anything happens to them.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Until radiation levels are down to acceptable legal levels we should not be eating foods grown inside the 30 km exclusion zone which has been reduced to 20 km nor from the special exclusion zone which includes Date and Namie, where the levels remain above 10 microsieverts/hr.

The levels of radiation on the mountains, in the streams and rivers, along the banks of rivers, in the schools and hospitals, in the fields, on the roof tops, in fact, everywhere need to be the legal background limits before we can think the levels are acceptable.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

An Imperial Household Agency spokesman said that the rice would be served in the dining halls for all personnel to enjoy, as well as at the emperor and empress’s private residence, Fuji reported.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made a two-day visit to Fukushima in July. At that time, they received a briefing on the progress of the decontamination work and the significance of the rice harvest to the local communities. The emperor remarked that “the people of Hirono have endured many hardships, and despite this, have worked diligently to produce this harvest and thus we too wish to enjoy this joyous occasion.”

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Sound everybody will eat until their koshihikari will be gone. Unlike us, IHA has experts' research result. '' Suidens must be rebuilt with different water coming from moutain or streams. I

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

In other words, I dont have problem about it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A real man of his people. Someone Japan can be proud of!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

there isn't a single reason why food should be grown inside the 30 km former no go zone or the current 20 km no go zone, There are many other places in Fukushima which are suitable for farming. The area should be off limits until the nuclear disaster site is resolved and declared safe. The same applies to all fishing off the Fukushima coast.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I fear the Emperor’s effort will only serve to bring light to the sad truth. The people of the town of Hirono and all those from that region will be getting their rice and fish from local sources for the remainder of their lives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Emperor Akihito did not have to request this; but he did so. Whether he actually eats or not is not that important. The announcement he made itself is valuable. People who tend to have suspicion about everything what others do may have his or her own problem.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This reminds me of US Pres. Jimmy Carter's visit to the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island in the middle of its crisis in 1979. His presence reassured people and forestalled panic. Pres. Carter was a trained Navy nuclear engineer and fully understood that the actual risk was low; I'm sure the Emperor too has qualified staff telling him if it's safe or not. In any case, it's an admirable gesture. Bravo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some of negative comment here is missing vital point. I'm sure the prefecture's authority will check radiation contamination percent in rice before they ship to Palace. Otherwise, they won't be sending contaminated rice to Palace. You must some credit to Government and local authority for their hard work for best result from the worst situation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am just wondering if Prussian Blue was used to decontaminate soil and if can clean the rice of cesium if it was contaminated. It seems that Prussian Blue is being improved upon by NIMS to absorb cesium better than it does.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another case of mislabeled rice?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

ou must some credit to Government and local authority for their hard work for best result from the worst situation

Hard work? They still haven't stopped the problem and Abe isn't focused on Japan's most pressing need but is instead using pathetic symbolism as a solution.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@SpeaklikeGandhi

"People who tend to have suspicion about everything what others do may have his or her own problem."

I can't believe people like you who "support the team" are actually serious. It means that the Japanese public, or part of it, is severly misinformed on the effects of radiation. It is deadly. Why don't you read up on the Chernobyl disaster. It looks like the previous generation failed to pass their knowledge to the current one, if people think eating contaminated rice is good for you, or that a statesman/emperor who does so or claims to do so is doing something "valuable" for the country. Here's a clue: he isn't. He's doing harm, because instead of alerting his people to the very real and present danger of contaminated food, he is blinding them to the real consequences of the Fukushima disaster. In fact, he's playing right into TEPCO's hands.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Empreror showed empahty to the people in Fukushima. One thing I liked about the Emperor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@anohito

I'm sure the Emperor too has qualified staff telling him if it's safe or not.

The appalling handling of the Fukushima disaster for two and a half years straight proves conclusively that Japan has no qualified staff whatsoever as far as nuclear matters are concerned.

@Mark Quijano

True empathy is leveraging one's influence to improve the situation. What he's doing is telling people to cover their eyes and ears and pretend everything is fine.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

How old is he? Wont affect him in the longterm if you know what i mean...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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