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Fukushima eyes retail space in Tokyo area to promote its products

5 January 2017

The Fukushima prefectural government will set up permanent corners for the sale of local agricultural, forestry and marine products at supermarkets and other retail outlets in the Tokyo metropolitan region as soon as this summer. The move is intended to help improve sales of Fukushima products and dissipate harmful rumors stemming from the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The local government plans to subsidize expenses for sales staff in charge of such corners and introduce a scheme under which consumers purchasing Fukushima products will be given benefits. Behind the sales promotion campaign is the prefecture's belief that its direct involvement in the distribution sector is necessary to restore lost consumer confidence in Fukushima products stemming from the accident in addition to the ongoing effort to publicize the results of radiation detection tests aimed at ensuring product safety and improving consumer psychology.

The Fukushima government is considering establishing product corners at about 10 shops initially in the metropolitan region, including outlets of major supermarket operators with nationwide store networks. It will gradually increase such corners in line with consumer reactions and other factors. Items to be sold at these corners will include fruit, vegetables, rice and meat. Sales staff will promote these products by offering shoppers tasting services to let them learn of their tastiness and charms. The planned benefits for consumers are expected to include free Fukushima products given to buyers chosen by lot.

Companies that will set up sales space are to be selected through public invitations on the basis of their proposals for sales promotion, including how to draw consumer attention. On the part of companies, the project is expected to benefit them by attracting shoppers and increasing sales.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

7 January 2017

Fukushima governor renews call for closure of another nuclear plant

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori urged Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) anew on Jan. 6 to decommission its Fukushima Daini (No. 2) nuclear plant as well as the Daiichi (No. 1) plant crippled in the 2011 nuclear accident caused by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Speaking with top TEPCO executives, including Chairman Fumio Sudo and President Naomi Hirose, at his office in Fukushima city, Uchibori said, “The prefectural people desire to see all nuclear reactors in Fukushima decommissioned. We would like to renew our request for the abolition of the Daini plant as well.”

Hirose said in reply the utility “accepts the prefectural people’s voice sincerely” but stopped short of making clear if it will also decommission the second plant, which remains intact after all reactors automatically stopped operations following the disaster.

The governor reiterated his three requests that the Daini plant should be decommissioned, safety and peace of mind ensured in the ongoing work to decommission the Daiichi plant, and damages payments made in a careful and prompt manner.

Referring to the prefectural assembly’s adoption of a position statement calling for the termination of all reactors at the Daini plant at its regular session in December, Hirose said TEPCO “certainly accepts such a desire of the prefectural people, and will discuss the matter and draw a conclusion,” showing no clear-cut stance toward the call for decommissioning.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

5 January 2017

All 2016 rice harvested in Fukushima clears radiation tests

All of about 10 million bags of rice harvested in Fukushima Prefecture in 2016 and screened for radioactive substances by the end of the year have been found to be well within the maximum legal standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram, as specified by the Food Sanitation Act. It was the third straight year that all new rice, generally harvested between August and December in the year of production, tested below the limit in the prefectural government’s annual blanket checks of whole Fukushima rice.

The local government screened 10,031,434 bags of 2016 rice by the year-end, and radiocesium content in 10,031,025 or 99.996% of the total was found below the mechanically measurable minimum level. All 50 samples subjected to precision tests were also found below the detectible level.

Prefectural government officials traced the achievement to continued efforts to prevent rice plants from absorbing radiocesium, including the use of potassium chloride-based fertilizer, as well as the natural attenuation of cesium radiation.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

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