For nine days, rice coming from the nuclear-hit prefecture of Fukushima will be served to government officials in an effort to prove the safety and readiness for consumption of the said crop. Over half a ton of rice from the fields of Yamakiya district in Kawamata Town and Iitate Village that both served as evacuation areas after the March 2011 nuclear incident will be distributed to a government office to validate the effectiveness of the decontamination process it underwent, as the said officials have assured the public that the rice contains no radioactive substances.
Senior Vice Environment Minister Shinji Inoue and Parliamentary Vice Environment Minister Tomoko Ukishima were both at the tasting and gave the crop a big thumbs up. “The rice balls tasted especially good after the great effort put into cultivating the crop,” said Inuoe. Around November 2011, months after the accident, rice samples from the town of Onami in Fukushima registered radioactive contamination of caesium – a radioactive isotope – at 630 becquerels per kilogram, above the 500 becquerels per kilogram limit set by the government.
Rice from the town of Onami was banned and restricted from being shipped elsewhere because of its proximity to the nuclear power plant immediately after November 2011. Yamakiya District in Kawamata Town and Iitate Village, on the other hand, are located around 40 to 50 kilometers northwest of the plant, making the rice harvested from these areas more suitable for decontamination.