News / Asia

Radioactive Food Worries Expand in Japan

A young boy carries his allotment of food at a shelter after being evacuated from areas around the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, March 20, 2011.
A young boy carries his allotment of food at a shelter after being evacuated from areas around the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, March 20, 2011.

Japanese government officials say food and milk contaminated with radiation is being detected in a wider than expected area. Some shipments are now being stopped, although authorities stress that ingesting the items will not immediately harm people.  

Japan's government is reporting additional cases of contaminated vegetables. Authorities say the radiation detected on produce, in milk and tap water is more extensive than anticipated following radiation leaks from the crippled Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, which was severely damaged by a tsunami.

The giant waves hit the northeastern coast of Japan on March 11 following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

Japan is now halting the sale of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture and spinach from Ibaraki prefecture. Officials late Sunday revealed that two more vegetables, canola and chrysanthemum greens, have also been found to be contaminated and in three more prefectures.

Further restrictions on distribution of crops grown in the region are being considered.

But officials say even in the worst cases of radiation detected in the food, a person would have to consume the items for a year before health concerns would arise.

Teams of government and nuclear specialists at the emergency rescue headquarters analyze data from the leaked radiation from the Fukushima nuclear facilitiesin Fukushima, Japan, March 19, 2011
Teams of government and nuclear specialists at the emergency rescue headquarters analyze data from the leaked radiation from the Fukushima nuclear facilitiesin Fukushima, Japan, March 19, 2011
Another worry is rising levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in tap water, with the highest concentrations in Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures.

At a news conference, the government's deputy chief cabinet secretary, Tetsuro Fukuyama, was asked if he would allow his children to drink the contaminated milk and tap water and eat spinach from the worst-affected areas.

Fukuyama says he does not allow his children to drink milk in the first place, even before this incident or otherwise. But regarding the spinach and the tap water, at the current radiation concentrations, he would not hesitate to permit his children to consume the vegetable or the water.

Officials acknowledge some suspect produce may have been shipped before it could be tested for radiation. 

Traces of radioactive substances in the air and water, believed to emanate from the crippled nuclear plant, have been detected as far as Tokyo, 250 kilometers away.

The Japanese minister in charge of consumer affairs and food safety, is appealing via an official web site posting for the public to act calmly and not be confused by groundless rumors from unreliable sources.

The food and water contamination scares are a further headache for Japan's government, already overwhelmed by the triple crises of extensive earthquake damage, destroyed communities from the resulting tsunami, and the disaster at the six-reactor Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

The crippled facility continues to emit high levels of radiation as workers attempt to restore power for critical pumps and firefighters in tandem spray water on reactor buildings and re-fill fuel-rod cooling pools.

Yet another concern is on the horizon. Weather forecasters predict rain showers in the area Monday.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the precipitation would not pose any health worries, but given the current levels of radioactivity, people should avoid getting wet while outdoors.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.

The Flying Greek

Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid