In the wake of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake disaster in 2011, which caused the nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, business in the Tohoku region turned into a nightmare. The government had to raise the legal limit for radioactive cesium in Japanese produce due to international emergency procedures. Although the limit was returned to normal last year in April, sales have not improved at all, and it is taking a toll on the farmers and other business owners in the Tohoku region.
Products from the region that were previously hailed for their quality such as mushrooms, fruits, cereals, wasabi, sake, seaweed and salmon are now looked upon with suspicion by Japanese customers. They would rather import these products from nearby countries like South Korea or China to ease their minds. This is not surprising if you take into consideration the fact that there have been wholesalers who attempted to sell Fukushima produce fraudulently by labeling them to have come from other regions. Of course, it was later on found that the products were safe, but the deception alone has caused continuous deterrence from customers.
The country’s exports have, likewise, not been spared. According to an official from the agriculture, forestry and fishery ministry, 45 countries and areas restricted food that came from Japan after the nuclear plant accident; hence, the decline in shipments.
Sadly, this has affected some people in the worst way. According to the Cabinet Office, as of November 2012, 76 people have committed suicide in relation to the disaster, with 21 linked to financial issues and nine to employment issues.