— Fukushima persimmons to be presented to Pope

From NHK World – Japan

November 20, 2019

A Japanese Catholic from Fukushima Prefecture plans to present local specialty persimmons to Pope Francis during his visit to Japan from Saturday.

Chuichi Ozawa from Koriyama City has been granted an audience with the pontiff next week.

As a member of the Koriyama Catholic Church, Ozawa has worked to support people affected by the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

Ozawa proposed presenting Aizu-mishirazu persimmons to the Pope to help dispel concerns about the safety of Fukushima produce due to the accident.

The Vatican Embassy in Tokyo accepted the offer.

The persimmons are known for their creamy texture and refreshing sweetness.

Ozawa visited a farmer in the Aizu region on Thursday and received more than 50 persimmons specially chosen for their colors and shapes.

He plans to bring the fruit to the embassy on Friday.

Ozawa says if the Pope eats the persimmons, it will lift the spirits of Fukushima farmers.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191121_41/

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— “Completely safe”? No independent food inspection for domestic consumption as Japan grapples with serving Fukushima food at Olympics

“Generally, Japanese citizens have faith in the government, and we haven’t felt the need to have checks carried out by independent parties,” said [Kenji] Kusano, [director of the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre, in Koriyama, the government’s main screening site]….

The Tokyo 2020 organisers said promoting areas affected by the 2011 disaster remains a key goal.

“Supporting the area’s reconstruction efforts through the sourcing of its food and beverage products is one of our basic strategies; we are therefore seriously considering doing this..” 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya told AFP.

From Agence France-Presse

20 November 2019

For years, Japan’s government has sought to convince consumers that food from Fukushima is safe despite the nuclear disaster. But will it serve the region’s produce at the Tokyo Olympics?

It’s a thorny subject for the authorities. They pitched the Games in part as a chance to showcase the recovery of areas affected by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Government officials tout strict checks on food from the region as evidence that the produce is completely safe, but it remains unclear whether athletes and sports teams from around the world will be convinced.

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