— 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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— “Yum!” In publicity stunt, Boris Johnson gulps down Fukushima peach juice, as EU prepares to ease import restrictions on food

“intended to prove that food and drink from Fukushima is safe, seven years after…”

From the Independent, UK

By Lydia Smith
December 15, 2017

Boris Johnson gulps down can of peach juice from Fukushima
Boris Johnson has been filmed drinking a can of peach juice from Fukushima, the Japanese region hit by nuclear disaster after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The video, tweeted by his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, shows the Foreign Secretary chugging the can at the Foreign Office in London this week.

“Very good… Mmm,” he said, before studying the can, a gift from Mr Kono.

The moment was intended to prove that food and drink from Fukushima is safe, seven years after the meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear energy plant — the most serious nuclear incident since the 1988 Chernobyl disaster.

More than 50 countries imposed import bans on regional produce following the accident, around half of which remain in place, including restriction from the U.S. and China.

Earlier this month, the EU said it would ease import restrictions on agricultural items and seafood from the region.

Research published last year showed the radiation released by the disaster may have lingering effects on fish — but that the risk posed to human beings through consumption, in part thanks to strong regulation, is minimal.

The study, published in the journal PNAS, shows that freshwater fish and ocean bottom dwellers near Fukushima have a higher risk of contamination with the radioactive chemical caesium than most other types of the ocean fish in the same area.

The risk diminishes the further away the fish are from the city’s nuclear facilities — and the research showed there was a relatively low risk of  people in Japan consuming contaminated fish. ..

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-fukushima-peach-juice-japan-taro-kono-london-a8112546.html

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Research referred to is here: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/14/3838

Two authors are employed by a Japanese federal agency, and the study was partially funded by  Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), CREST.

Japan pressures Philippines’ government to accept Fukushima farm produce

From Manila Times
July 15, 2015
by James Konstantin Galvez

Tokyo is pressing Manila to relax its import restrictions on farm products from the Fukushima prefecture in exchange for more trade concessions under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed on Wednesday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said that Japanese negotiators want to resume exports of Fukushima-grown produce —including dairy, rice and fresh vegetables—to the Philippines after these were suspended amid concerns about radiation contamination following the nuclear crisis in March 2011.

“They want us to lower our food safety requirements based on the fact that Canada and other countries have already accepted their farm products. But I don’t see any reason why [we should],” Serrano told reporters.

The DA official said that if exports from Fukushima were to resume, all products coming from the prefecture should first undergo tests at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) to ensure that they are radiation-free.

“Even if Mars already accepted their produce, it still has to undergo study by our own experts. We have to be careful since it’s their own technical report, which may differ from our own study,” Serrano said.

It can be recalled that by January 24, New Zealand, Australia and Canada had lifted import restrictions on products from Fukushima Prefecture based on measurements of radioactive material. Britain allows imports as long as a government-issued radioactive material inspection certificate is submitted.

However, agricultural products from Fukushima prefecture are still widely shunned in other overseas markets, putting more pressure on the Japanese government revive its export market.

“It’s not a matter of volume. Even if [the shipment] is just one gram, if it has radioactive content, it will not pass the requirements under the Food Safety Act,” Serrano added.

“It’s very political for them to show that they have already addressed the problem. It’s what they want to project. There’s pressure. But I don’t see any reason to give in to their demand,” Serrano stressed.

http://www.manilatimes.net/tokyo-urges-manila-to-accept-fukushima-farm-produce/200631/

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