Hisao Tsuboi, a farmer in the Miyakoji District of Fukushima, was happily reaping his first harvest of rice on Tuesday. Tsuboi was one of the residents living within the 20 km no-entry zone in Fukushima. He was also among the residents forced to evacuate as imposed by the government following the nuclear meltdown in March 2011.
The autumn harvest was Tsuboi’s first in three years. Watching his golden field, which is about 18 km west of the defunct nuclear facility, seems promising. “The golden scenery [of rice ears] fills me with emotion. I am happy. I hope that my rice harvesting encourages other residents in my district to restart their rice cultivation next year.” Although the government has already completed its decontamination of the district, it remains imperative for Tsuboi to have his harvest go through radiation level inspections. If his crops are found to yield less than 100 becquerels per kilogram, the government standard of allowable produce, his rice will have the green light to be sold to markets.
Miyakoji District was cleared from no-entry zone status and was given the “Hinan-shiji kaijo junbi-kuiki” status in April 2012. It meant Miyakoji was ‘an area to prepare for the lifting of the evacuation order.’ The status allows evacuated residents to return and stay overnight during the New Year holidays and other consecutive holiday periods. Tsuboi has been living in his home since August this year when the decontamination was completed, allowing residents to stay longer in their homes. Since then, he has been growing rice in his 1.8 hectare field.
[via Asahi Shimbun]