As the image of radioactive water flowing out of the disaster stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant and into the Pacific Ocean have become embedded in the global psyche, Japan now feels – and maybe rightly so – that it is incumbent upon them to show consumers from home and abroad the safety of seafood around Japan. That is why the foreign media, including some foreign embassy officials, got the guided tour of a research facility in Onjuku, Chiba Prefecture to see how fisheries products are being monitored for radiation.
Japan’s Fisheries Agency provided the tour that which attracted 36 participants, most of them journalists and media practitioners for foreign news agencies. The tour demonstrated the monitoring process for radiation in all fisheries products. The participant feedback was generally positive, with many saying that the process was well-organized and helped them better understand the efforts. Some did say that the agency’s explanations did completely give them the big picture of what was happening throughout the whole country. Some of the visitors said that this was a move that the Japanese government should have done much, much earlier, if only to help in quelling the bad press about Japanese seafood products.
Atsushi Suginaka, director in the Fisheries Agency’s processing industry and marketing division, agreed that many people were mistaken in their belief that the radioactive water reaching the Pacific poses health risks to people who eat fish. “We have repeatedly denied this, but only a few media outlets have seen the actual monitoring process, so we thought it would help them understand the situation better if they see how the process works,” Suginaka said. The Marine Ecology Research Institute in Chiba Prefecture – where the tour took place – typically receives around 50 fish a day that were caught off eastern and northeastern Japan. These fish are the ones which gave out radiation levels higher than 50 becquerels per 1 kg from last year’s tests – where the legal safe limit is at 100 becquerels per 1 kg. “I found the tour very valuable,” said one participant who declined to be identified. “I think the Japanese authorities should do more of these to promote awareness of the testing undertaking,” the participant added.
[via Fish Site]