Fukushima rice to be sold in Britain
Rice harvested in Japan’s Fukushima region, heavily affected by a nuclear meltdown in 2011, is returning to the EU, starting with Britain next month, the Japan Times reports.
A total of 1.9 tons of Fukushima rice called Ten no Tsubu will be sold in London, making the UK the first EU nation to import the region’s produce after the nuclear disaster. The sale became possible after a long campaign from Fukushima natives in London to fend off rumors about the potential danger of the crops, the media said.
“With the UK as a foothold, we hope to expand the sale of prefecture-produced rice to other EU member countries,” said Nobuo Ohashi from Japanese farmers group Zen-Noh.
Brussels requires rice from Fukushima to undergo a radiation test in Japan or the importer country.
“It’s bright news for Fukushima, which has been struggling with the import restrictions. We will make further efforts so the restrictions will be lifted entirely,” said a spokesperson for a prefectural office.
The disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Plant was caused by a tsunami that resulted in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors and the release of radioactive material. It was the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and the second to receive the highest level classification on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
A March report by the US National Academy of Sciences said that five years following the disaster, most seafood caught off the coast of Japan is now safe to be consumed, adding, “the overall contamination risk for aquatic food items is very low.”