News / Asia

Fukushima Farmers Worry About Region's Brand

Niiwa Anzai, 30, packs shiitake mushrooms at the Anzai family farm near Fukushima, northern Japan, April 6, 2011
Niiwa Anzai, 30, packs shiitake mushrooms at the Anzai family farm near Fukushima, northern Japan, April 6, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Martyn Williams

With the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant set to continue through most of this year, many people in the region are worried about the long-term impact on the Fukushima brand.  Nowhere can this be felt more than in the prefecture's agricultural industry, but farmers are fighting back.



On a weekday afternoon in central Tokyo a politician is on the microphone appealing to the public.  But, she is not asking for votes.

Emi Kaneko, a member of the ruling Democratic Party from Fukushima, is asking people to trust in her prefecture's farmers and their vegetables.

Damage control

Ever since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant began throwing radioactive particles into the surrounding environment, produce from the prefecture's farmers has disappeared from store shelves and some countries have banned imports of it.

Sadayasu Ab, an official in Minimisoma, a village that sits 25 kilometers from the plant, says this constitutes a fourth disaster for the region.

Abe says they have been hit by an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear accident and now rumors and worry about agricultural products.  He has heard some people saying they do not want to buy food with the Fukushima name.

The Japanese government has restricted the sale of some vegetables from towns near the plant, but it says much of the prefecture's produce is safe.

Publicity campaign

To drive home that message, people like Yoko Nozaki, from Fukushima's Iwaki City, came to Tokyo.

Nozaki says she is there with farmers to convince shoppers that food from Iwaki is safe.  Stalls are selling tomatoes, leeks, garlic cloves and other items at discounted prices and people are buying.

Within a few hours, many of the vegetables are sold out.  Housewife Yoko Noumi is heading home with a bag of tomatoes.

Noumi says she heard on television that the produce was safe to eat, so she decided to buy some to support the farmers.

The government's agriculture bans also cover some towns outside of Fukushima, but the neighboring prefectures have not seen their images tarnished in the same way.

Long term impact

Tokyo is the first stop on a multi-city tour for the farmers, but the public relations effort can only go so far. It is not likely to have much effect beyond Japan's borders.

Kazuichi Ishii, an official with Iwaki City, says when people around the world hear the name Fukushima, they group it with Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the sites of the two other major nuclear accidents.  And he does not see this changing, as long as the nuclear crisis continues to make headlines.

Tokyo Electric Power says it does not expect to have the plant fully under control for six to nine months, so the headlines are not likely to stop anytime soon.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs