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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid