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Regarding the Aug. 23 Kyodo article “Fukushima hunts for cesium-resistant rice“: While I understand the goal of trying to find a strain of rice that will absorb practically no cesium, I can’t help asking some questions: Shouldn’t cesium and all other radioactive materials be completely taken out of the soil? Wouldn’t it be better to solve the real problem and not just deal with the current shortcomings of locally grown rice and other crops? And at which part of the human food chain does cesium end up if rice doesn’t absorb it from the ground?

I suggest finding a strain of rice, or any fast-growing crop with multiple harvests per year, that will absorb as much radioactive material as possible. In that way, the land could be cleansed and hopefully become safe for agricultural purposes. Back in 1953, after the Dutch experienced their biggest flood disaster on record, massive potato fields were cultivated to extract salt left in the soil by seawater. The flood left part of the country unfit for regular agriculture for a number of years, but eventually the potatoes cleansed the soil, enabling a return to regular agriculture.

I imagine that the March 11 tsunami left its fair share of salt in the soil. Perhaps the potatoes also will extract cesium effectively and Japan can kill two birds with one stone.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

peter klomp

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