Ten years on from 3/11, farming in Fukushima is tentatively getting back on its feet, reports Mara Budgen. But while farming has resumed even in areas that had once been evacuated, reviving the market for Fukushima products — from rice and beef to flowers — remains a formidable challenge.
Not helping matters, 15 economies are still restricting Japanese food imports from some areas due to concerns over radiation — a situation the government has vowed to remedy. As part of its efforts, a new multilingual website has also been launched, packed with info on the post-3/11 recovery in Fukushima Prefecture.
Japan is also calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify the safety of its plan to discharge more than a million tons of radioactive water used to cool the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant into the sea. The government says it wants the IAEA to conduct a scientific review of the disposal method and openly convey its view to the world.
About 165,000 people in Fukushima Prefecture were forced to relocate after the March 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Some 36,000 people are still unable to return, and many of them are worried about their bleak prospects, including dying alone, reports the Fukushima Minpo.
Meanwhile, for those who stayed, the ensuing decontamination effort has proven to be extremely profitable for some, but at the same time has sown division in communities that is likely to fester long after the drawn-out process finally ends, explains Philip Brasor in a recent Media Mix column.
As for Tepco — operator of the wrecked No. 1 plant — Japan’s nuclear regulator decided last week to effectively ban the firm from restarting its jewel in the crown, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata, after the seven-reactor complex was found to have serious safety flaws. When it will restart is anyone’s guess.