Science panel recommends strengthening inspection of Fukushima-grown produce

September 07, 2013

By JIN NISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer

Citing falling prices for Fukushima-made agricultural products over fears of radioactive contamination, the Science Council of Japan released an urgent proposal Sept. 6 that calls for the strengthening of inspections to bolster consumer confidence.

The panel also cited a lack of central control over efforts to monitor and deal with radioactive contamination.

Under the government’s current system for monitoring radiation levels and taking response measures, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare addresses food safety issues, while the Environment Ministry is responsible for cleaning up soil contamination.

In light of the division of similar duties, the council also called for setting up a central command for monitoring and taking measures at the Reconstruction Agency and developing new laws to improve communication between ministries.

The SCJ’s proposal stated that it is necessary to enhance the inspection process at every stage of production.

More specifically, the SCJ’s recommendations include: testing every farm for radioactive contamination; the distribution of maps showing contaminated areas and radiation levels; implementing measures to control the absorption of radiation in crops; and the establishment of a system to monitor radiation by the national government, municipalities and farmers’ groups.

The SCJ added that measures that would promote consumers to monitor radiation levels would also be beneficial.

In addition, the SCJ’s recommendation said that it is urgent that information by research institutions in various fields also be centralized and an overall institution that specializes on issues concerning radiation contamination should be set up.

By JIN NISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer
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Officials from the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, test for radioactive substances in Fukushima-grown vegetables. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Officials from the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, test for radioactive substances in Fukushima-grown vegetables. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Officials from the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, test for radioactive substances in Fukushima-grown vegetables. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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