FUKUSHIMA – For years, the government has sought to convince consumers that food from Fukushima is safe despite the nuclear disaster. But will it serve the prefecture’s produce at the Tokyo Olympics?
It’s a thorny subject for the authorities. They pitched the Olympics in part as a chance to showcase the recovery of areas affected by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Japan allows a maximum of 100 becquerels of cesium radioactivity per kilogram. The European Union, by comparison, sets that level at 1,250 Bq/kg and the U.S. at 1,200.
According to officials, from April 2018 to March, 9.21 million bags of rice were examined with not a single one exceeding the Japanese limit.
The same for 2,455 samples of fruit and vegetables, 4,336 pieces of meat and 6,187 ocean fish.
“Only river fish and wild mushrooms have on just six occasions been found to exceed the limits,” said Kenji Kusano, director of the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, the government’s main screening site.
The International Olympic Committee has said it is still weighing how to handle the matter.
“Food menus and catering companies for the Olympic Village are under discussion and have yet to be defined,” a spokesman said.
Tokyo Olympics organizers say 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,” organizing committee spokesman Masa Takaya said.
He said rules on what food and drink could be brought in independently by teams are still being reviewed.