Chiba rice free of radioactivity

Kyodo

No radioactive substance has been detected in sampling tests on rice before harvesting in Tako, northeastern Chiba, the prefectural government said.

The result announced Tuesday is the first for radiation tests for rice under a guideline set by the central government, Chiba officials said.

Prefectures mainly in eastern Japan are conducting radiation tests on rice to check if rice planted this spring is contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Until rice after harvesting clears tests in late August, the prefecture will voluntarily refrain from shipping rice from Tako, an official said.

Chiba Prefecture is also implementing tests on harvested rice in the cities of Tateyama, Kamogawa and Minamiboso in a bid to announce results as early as Thursday.

The municipality of Itako in Ibaraki Prefecture has also conducted radiation tests on rice under its own guidelines and detected no radioactive cesium in newly harvested rice, municipal officials said Tuesday.

The central government has come up with a radiation test guideline calling for priority tests after harvesting in areas where rice before harvesting is found containing radioactive cesium at levels above 200 becquerels per kg. No shipment would be allowed if the levels exceed 500 becquerels per kg.