30 Mars 2012
March 30, 2012
All rice from areas of Fukushima whose radiation levels exceed a new government standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram will be purchased by the government this year and discarded, it has been learned.
The new standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram comes into effect in April, and will apply to rice harvested from around October this year. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries decided to go ahead with the move to alleviate consumers' concerns while supporting farmers.
Up to 37,000 metric tons of rice is expected to be covered by the measure, with the purchase cost reaching 9 billion yen.
In the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the interim limit for radioactive cesium in rice was 500 becquerels per kilogram. Last year the ministry ordered municipalities to halt shipments of rice from areas in which the rice radiation level was found to exceed this limit, and it bought up rice from all of the areas.
The ministry will purchase the rice through a corporation and it will bill Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the stricken nuclear plant, for the amount spent.
The ministry's Policy Planning Division says that about 70 regions in 12 municipalities including the cities of Fukushima, Nihonmatsu and Date will be covered by the measures.