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Strawberry harvest season peaking in Date city's Ryozan district

12 December 2014

The harvesting of strawberries for use with Christmas cakes is peaking in the Ryozan district of Date city, Fukushima Prefecture. Plastic greenhouses growing strawberries are filled with the sweet smell of the fruit inside, ushering in the Christmas season.
In a greenhouse owned by Yuichi Saito, the 57-year-old farmer is busy picking the "Tochiotome" breed of strawberries one by one. Assisting with the work are his wife Tomoko, 56, and his parents in their 80s.
The greenhouse was damaged by heavy snowfall last February, forcing a month-long delay to April in growing seedlings. Young plants have since grown without facing any big problem to bear bright red strawberries. The farmer says he wants consumers to eat plenty of the fruit to help them stay healthy.
Strawberry cropping continues until mid-June next year. The fruit is shipped to the city’s agricultural cooperative and elsewhere, including the northernmost main island of Hokkaido.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

12 December 2014

Debris removal begins in Tomioka town 3 years, 9 months after disaster

Work began to remove broken houses and other wreckage left over in Tomioka on Dec. 11, three years and nine months after the Fukushima Prefecture town and other parts of northeastern Japan were devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The town is close to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and remains a no-go zone due to high levels of radiation, leaving all residents evacuated.
The Environment Ministry project is aimed at moving about 7,500 tons out of an estimated 34,000 tons of debris left in Tomioka by the tsunami to a temporary storage facility in the town by the end of fiscal 2014 through next March. The remaining 26,500 tons will be removed in fiscal 2015.
On the first day of the project, workers sorted out debris in the Kegaya district after measuring radiation levels to find items of sentimental value to residents such as family albums, ornaments and children's stationery.

15 December 2014

Ruling LDP wins in 3 of Fukushima's 5 single-seat general election districts

In the Dec. 14 general election, a total of eight candidates won lower house seats in the single-seat and proportional representation theaters in Fukushima Prefecture: four from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), two from the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), and one each from the ruling coalition partner Komeito and the opposition Japan Restoration Party (JRP). The LDP's local strength was two seats fewer than in the previous election in 2012.
Running in Fukushima's five single-seat constituencies were a total of 16 candidates from five parties -- the LDP, DPJ, JRP, Japanese Communist Party (JCP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) -- and five were returned. Three other candidates won seats in the proportional representation bloc.
In the single-seat constituency portion, the LDP secured three seats, and the DPJ and JRP one each. None of the JCP's five candidates and the SDP's single candidate was successful. The LDP's strength in this theater fell by one seat.
The LDP winners in the single-seat constituencies were Yoshitami Kameoka, former parliamentary vice minister of the Cabinet Office, returned for the third time; Takumi Nemoto, former reconstruction minister, returned for the seventh time; and Masayoshi Yoshino, former senior vice minister for the environment, returned for the sixth time. The DPJ winner was Koichiro Gemba, former foreign minister, while the JRP's successful candidate was Shinji Oguma, the party's first lower house member elected from Fukushima.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

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