FUKUSHIMA - Fukushima Prefecture will begin scaling back its blanket radiation checks on rice as early as 2020 amid growing signs the safety fears sparked by the March 2011 nuclear crisis are disappearing, it has been learned.
All rice will remain subject to checks for the time being in 12 municipalities where evacuation orders were issued following the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but other areas will switch to random checks. All locally grown rice has been subject to the checks since 2012.
Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori told the prefectural assembly that checks will become random if no excessive radiation is detected for five years.
All local rice grown between 2015 and 2017 came in below the safety limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram. If the 2018 and 2019 harvests are also found to be within the standards, the checks will go random starting in 2020 in areas outside the 12 evacuated municipalities.
Some have criticized the blanket checks as too costly.
The manager of the Fukushima No. 1 plant is Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.