Survey: 30% worry about radioactive substances in food production areas

March 12, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Nearly 30 percent of Japanese consumers check production locations to avoid food possibly contaminated by radioactive substances, while 19 percent are reluctant to buy food products from Fukushima Prefecture, a government survey showed.

The Consumer Affairs Agency’s online survey, conducted in the middle of February, covered people living in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the three prefectures hardest hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, as well as in the densely populated areas in and around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

The survey was conducted to counter negative publicity about food in the Tohoku region in light of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. About 5,000 people responded.

The agency asked: “Are you concerned about the production area when buying food?”

Some 68 percent of the respondents said “I am” or “I am to some extent.”

Among them, 41 percent--or 28 percent of all respondents--said the reason for their concern is: “I want to buy food uncontaminated by radioactive materials.”

Nineteen percent of all respondents avoid food from Fukushima Prefecture, while 15 percent are hesitant to buy food products from the three heavily hit prefectures, according to the survey.

Four percent said they try not to buy food from any area of eastern Japan.

The survey also revealed a lack of knowledge about tests conducted for radioactive substances to ensure food is safe to consume.

Twenty-two percent of the respondents said, “I did not know such tests have been carried out.”

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Officials of the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center cut buds of a Japanese angelica tree for tests of radioactive substances on March 21, 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Officials of the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center cut buds of a Japanese angelica tree for tests of radioactive substances on March 21, 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Officials of the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center cut buds of a Japanese angelica tree for tests of radioactive substances on March 21, 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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