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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid