FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato blasted the nuclear safety agency Sunday for being late in releasing radiation readings on local farm produce.

Shipments of radiation-tainted Fukushima milk and produce from surrounding prefectures have been restricted over public health concerns as the nuclear crisis continues.

The prefecture is also dealing with moves overseas to curb business with its local manufacturers over radiation concerns and will start measuring residual radiation on locally made products Monday at its research institute, officials said.

The central government is considering lifting the vegetable restrictions if the results of three tests show radiation levels meet the designated limits for consumption, but it takes a few days for the results of each test to be released, Sato said.

“Can’t you increase the number of examiners? The lives of farmers are at stake. It’s a matter of whether they can live tomorrow,” the governor said at a meeting of the prefectural disaster relief task force attended by an official from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Sato said the results should be released in about a day and criticized the government for being late in lifting restrictions.

“I wonder if our sense of urgency is being conveyed to the government. . . . It is irritating,” Sato said.

The NISA official said, “I get the point.”

The NISA official told reporters after the meeting that there isn’t enough testing equipment in the prefecture and that three organizations outside the prefecture are assisting with the analyses.

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