21 Mai 2016
May 20, 2016
Farmers in a town near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have resumed rice farming for the first time since the nuclear accident in 2011.
A group of 10 farmers planted rice seedlings in a four-hectare paddy in Naraha Town on Friday.
The paddy contains fertilizers that limit the rice's absorption of radioactive substances.
The town was one of the communities ordered by the central government to evacuate after the accident.
When the order was lifted last September, test farming was done to confirm the safety of growing rice. Restrictions on rice shipments were lifted in March.
The farmers plan to harvest the rice in October. It will be shipped after being tested for radioactive substances.
This year the town plans to farm about 20 hectares of rice paddies, only about one-thirtieth of the area used before the accident.
The town is suffering a manpower shortage, as less than 10 percent of the residents have returned.
The group's leader, Mitsuo Sato, said the farmers have taken one step forward, and that he hopes more people will follow.