As more and more people living in Japan are reporting finding higher than normal levels of radiation in their food, and as more citizen watch groups are finding hot spots of radiation all across the island nation, the central government of Japan has been mulling over bans of rice farms located in Fukushima and surrounding prefectures. The government has announced that they will ban even more rice farms after rice made it to market containing very high levels of Cesium.
On Tuesday,Tokyo time, the government added two more districts(Ogumi and Tsukidate) in Fukushima prefectures to the list of areas in which the rice is deemed unsafe to eat. This new ban comes after the local Fukushima government announced that they had found rice which had cesium radiation levels of between 580 and 1,050 becquerels per kilogram from rice in the districts in question. It is important to make note that the Japanese government’s inspection limit is 500 becquerels per kilogram.
The number of banned rice farms has slowly been on the increase. At first, the Japanese government only banned rice farms which were in the immediate area of the former Fukushima NPP. There has been much hesitation on the part of the Japanese government to name more banned rice farms which were clearly in the path of the four large plumes of radioactive clouds which puked out from former Fukushima NPP. It has taken blatant failed inspections or pressure from citizen watch groups to get the banned list increased. Although this is the second time in the past two weeks that the Japanese government has added farms to the banned list. On Nov. 17th it was announced that the district of Onami in Fukushima City had all of it’s farms added to the banned list. Rice samples in Onami had cesium levels of 640 becquerels per kilogram. The grand total of banned rice farms in Japan, due to radiation poisoning, is 4,322.
The local government’s profound ‘discovery’ was not made public until 9 kilos of the poisoned rice had been sold at market. Fukushima prefectural government admits the rice was sold by one of the farmers in Ogumi district but has offered no explanation as to how the poisoned rice made its way to market. This creates a odd timeline for the government. As per Japanese rice radiation inspections rules, no rice can be sold or shipped to market unless it has passed all radiation testing. How did tainted highly radioactive rice, which should have been fully tested before clearance, end up being sold by the farmer?
The only two logical answers as to how poisoned rice made it to market is corruption or sub-par testing procedures. Considering that the Japanese Atomic Safety Agency is known for, not only it’s lack of enforcement of current nuclear safety standards, but also for it’s lack of ability to create proper testing procedures corruption cannot be ruled out. After all, it was the above mentioned agency which approved, the was the overseer, of testing procedures for safety at the former Fukushima NPP. It was the exact same safety agency which allowed less than worst case situations to be used as safety protocol at Fukushima. It is also true that many former employees of TEPCO currently, and in the past, serve members of the agency. It might be very clear who screwed up; or at least who was given the orders to screw up. As desperation from farmers could very well pull of the heart strings of the inspectors, causing dirty rice to pass though inspection magically, it must also be considered that pressure form TEPCO on their former employees turn government officials to attempt to force poisoned rice though inspection could be the cause of the rice being sold at market.
By any measure, the rice fields of Japan are proving to quickly become a radioactive wasteland for which no rice will be able to be grown on for many years to come.
Japan Times: High levels of Cesium Found in Date Rice
BBC: Japan Bans Fukushima Rice shipments due to contamination
Asia News: Fukushima: Ban on 4,322 Rice Farms