Home > News > Regional
Wednesday August 20, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday August 20, 2014 MYT 7:34:06 AM
TOKYO: Japan is to restart exports of rice grown in Fukushima for the first time since foreign sales were halted due to fears of contamination by the nuclear disaster there, officials said Tuesday.
The National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh), a major wholesaler of Japanese agricultural products, said it will send 300kg of the grain to Singapore.
Its provenance will be marked and it will not be mixed with other produce, an official said. The rice was grown some 60km-80km of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, he said.
It will be the first time rice grown in Fukushima prefecture – which hosts the battered Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant – has been sold abroad since fiscal 2012 when the region exported 17 tonnes to Hong Kong, a Fukushima official said.
“Despite our efforts at explaining the safety of Fukushima-made farm products, up until now we have not been able to find retailers who wished to trade rice grown in Fukushima,” said an official for Zen-Noh.
“From now on, we aim to export more Fukushima rice, including to Singapore.”
Fukushima was a key agricultural area before the 2011 disaster, when a huge tsunami swamped reactors and sparked meltdowns, sending out plumes of radioactive material.
Thousands of people were evacuated and huge tracts of land were rendered unfarmable.
The accident has left the Fukushima brand contaminated both domestically and internationally. Despite government assurances it is safe, farmers who till fields many kilometres from the plant have struggled to find buyers for their produce.
Local officials say rigorous testing proves there is no risk from consuming rice grown in Fukushima prefecture, an area that stretches way beyond the plant and its environs.
“All rice grown in Fukushima is being checked for radioactivity before being shipped to the market,” another Fukushima official said.
“Our rice is proved to have passed the government safety standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram (a measure of radioactive contamination), and is mostly below detection levels” of measuring instruments, he said.
Before the disaster, more than 100 tonnes of Fukushima-grown rice, peaches and apples were being sold abroad a year, chiefly in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the official said.
“In 2012, export of peaches and apples to Thailand resumed and last year exports of the fruits to Malaysia resumed,” he said. —AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Injury-free Razman gets call-up to face Timor Leste
Christie's brace steers Malaysia to first victory of the year
Women’s squash world meet set for December date in Malaysia
Kim Swee: A win will do the players “world of good”
Hawkers may operate at temporary site nearby
New Japan cabinet minister seeks to stem shrinking population
India protests to Saudi after maid's hand chopped off
Bangladeshi farmer named national rat-killing champion
Elderly woman's hand severed by lift doors at HDB block
Vomit, facemasks as 'extreme smog' clouds China Open
China debuts film on its last surviving ‘comfort women’ at Busan Film Festival
Revving it up in Rawang
'Broforce' given Oct 15 release date
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)