– #Fukushima to Test Every Single Bag of Rice This Year (Meaning They Will Definitely Grow Rice in 2012) (EX-SKF, Jan. 5, 2012):
Who is going to eat Fukushima rice? Probably the same people eating it now, at schools, hospitals, at family restaurants, convenience stores. Oh and the increasingly unpopular prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, who demanded that the Japanese citizens eat Fukushima rice like he did every day.
For people who say “The Fukushima JA didn’t ship rice that was found with any amount of radioactive cesium”, it’s true. The problem is that the Fukushima JA handles only 23% rice grown in Fukushima. (The link is in Japanese.) The rest goes directly from rice farmers to the distributors or to the end customers.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (1/6/2011):
The Fukushima prefectural government has decided to test all bags of rice for radioactive materials for the 2012 rice to be grown and harvested in Fukushima Prefecture with the help from the JA [agricultural producer co-op] and other organizations.
The prefectural government will subsidize the cost when the JA introduces high-precision instruments [to measure radioactive materials]. This is in response to the detection of radioactive cesium in rice exceeding the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) in part of the 2011 rice grown in Fukushima.
The prefectural government figured that all bags of rice would need to be tested this fall in order to secure the trust of the consumers. It will encourage the producers and distributors to purchase the instruments.
１２年の県産米の検査にあたっては、県が１１年の収穫期にも行った抽出検査に加えて、ＪＡなどが出荷する段階でも全袋を調べる。ただ、今秋に県内で収穫さ れる量は、約３６万トン、約１２００万袋にのぼる見通しで、現在の検査能力（１日あたり約１２００袋）では対応できないため、県は、ベルトコンベヤーに検 体を載せて測定するタイプの機器を導入し、検査時間の短縮を図る。機器の性能にもよるが、全袋検査には百数十台が必要と見込まれる。
In testing the 2012 rice, the prefectural government will conduct sampling tests as it did in the 2011 harvest season. In addition, the JA and others will check all the bags of rice at the time of shipment. However, the estimated harvest this fall in Fukushima Prefecture is about 360,000 tonnes in 12 million bags, far exceeding the current capacity of testing (1,200 bags per day). The prefectural government will introduce the instrument that uses conveyer belt to shorten the inspection time. Depending on the performance of the instrument, over 100 such instruments will be needed to test every single bag of rice.
360,000 tonnes of rice. That’s slightly more than what was produced in 2011 (353,600 tonnes, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries). So they are all eager to grow as much as they did last year, knowing full well this time that they are growing on highly contaminated soil (except for most but not all of Aizu region).
Before the accident, Fukushima produced about 450,000 tonnes of rice each year as the 4th largest producer of rice behind Hokkaido, Niigata, and Akita. Last year, it dropped in ranking, but it was still the 7th largest producer.
Fuji Electric has a belt-conveyer radiation detection system that it sells for 4.3 million yen, but detection limits are rather high for a speedy 12-second testing (meat 140 becquerels/kg, rice 90 becquerels/kg, leafy vegetables 250 becquerels/kg). The system clearly needs upgrade as the new and improved safety limit for cesium for food will be 100 becquerels/kg starting on the April Fool’s Day. (No joke.)
It has been rumored that Shimadzu, the largest analytical instrument company in Japan, is close to introducing the similar product with higher precision and probably costing a whole lot more.
But they will only measure radioactive cesium (134, 137) and nothing else. The government is absolutely silent on radioactive strontium (which has a much higher transfer coefficient than radioactive cesium) or other nuclides that fell on the farm soil in Tohoku and Kanto regions.
Everything done in Fukushima for the sake of “recovery and reconstruction” is paid by the national government, but the national government is broke and it bills TEPCO. TEPCO runs out of money and asks the national government for money to pay for the bills that the national government gives them. The national government gives TEPCO the money, and collect the money by raising taxes for all citizens.
And the citizens get to eat safe Fukushima rice as a reward for supposedly helping Fukushima people.