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Cesium testing of food in Tokyo

December 24, 2012


Tokyo suburban city to conduct free cesium tests on food



The Tokyo suburban city of Higashimurayama will start providing free cesium testing in January next year on food items brought by citizens, becoming the second municipality in the Tama district to offer such a service.

The Higashimurayama Municipal Government said it will start accepting reservations on Dec. 20 for the tests scheduled to commence on Jan. 15. The city said it will begin the service because it won a draw for the free lease of a radiation counter from the Consumer Affairs Agency this summer.

According to officials, the city will conduct the tests jointly with a citizens group called Geiger Higashimurayama. Residents of the city aged 20 years or older will be eligible to use the service, whose test subjects will be limited to food items for individual consumption, including home-grown crops and items purchased from retailers. Food must be chopped or processed in a blender before being brought in. Drinking water will not be covered by the tests.

The measurable limit of the radiation counter is 10 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. Citizens will be able to learn the results shortly after the testing.

While the city government is not anticipating any food items whose cesium levels would exceed the central government-set standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram -- which came into effect in April this year -- an official in charge said, "We hope residents will make use of the tests as a tool to remove their anxiety about what they eat."

Reservations are accepted at the municipal government or by telephone at: 042-393-5111 (in Japanese) on a first-come-first-served basis.

The Tokyo suburban city of Kunitachi has earlier started a similar testing service.


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