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Fukushima rice exports to resume, first batch going to Singapore

19 August 2014

The National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh) announced on Aug. 18 that it will resume exports of rice grown in Fukushima Prefecture, starting with the "Koshihikari" variety of rice harvested in Sukagawa and set to go on sale at a high-end supermarket in Singapore from Aug. 22. It will be the first time Fukushima rice has been exported since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co., according to Zen-Noh.
Prefectural rice was last exported in 2010, just before the nuclear disaster, when about 100 tons were shipped abroad. Zen-Noh and the prefectural government expect to increase rice exports in the future, using the sale to Singapore as a stepping stone as the Southeast Asian country is known for tough safety screening.
In Singapore, Fukushima rice has not been subject to import restrictions even since the nuclear accident. But there is no record of rice exports there due to fears among local consumers of radioactive contamination stemming from the accident. The resumption of exports to Singapore has been made possible thanks to local awareness of safety promoted by Zen-Noh, the prefectural government and other parties concerned through radioactive pollution tests and other measures.
On sale in Singapore will be 60 bags of the Sukagawa Koshihikari rice, each bag containing 5 kilograms.

23 August 2014

Fukushima's Seiko Gakuin baseball team fails to reach semifinals in national meet

Seiko Gakuin High School in Date, Fukushima Prefecture, lost 5-1 to Nihon Bunri High School in Niigata, Niigata Prefecture, in the quarterfinals of the 96th National High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, western Japan, on Aug. 22. Seiko Gakuin won three preliminary games but failed to post a record fourth victory as a Fukushima school in the national high school event. It also missed an opportunity to become the first Fukushima school in 43 years to join the top four teams in the summer high school baseball competition.
It was the first encounter ever between Fukushima and Niigata teams in either spring invitational or summer high school baseball events. The game turned out to be a heated duel as both teams created scoring chances from the beginning. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Seiko Gakuin's lead-off man reached first base on an infield hit to short stop, proceeded to second on a sacrifice bunt and came home on a hit to right field to even the score.
The Fukushima team allowed the Niigata side to take the lead in the top of the second inning to make the score 2-1, but its starting pitcher held the following four innings scoreless, aided by several fine bits of play by the defense, until giving up another run in the seventh.
Seiko Gakuin collected a total of 10 hits from Nihon Bunri's ace hurler, leaving runners in scoring positions in all innings except in the sixth and ninth, but failed to add any more runs. Although the Fukushima side allowed the Niigata team to score another two runs in the ninth to lose the game 5-1, all players did their best until the last minute.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

24 August 2014

Starbursts of lights in night sky at fireworks festival in Sukagawa

The "36th Shakado River Fireworks Festival in Sukagawa" was held in the Fukushima Prefecture city on Aug. 23, using the Citizens' Sports Plaza as a venue for launching the fireworks. People enjoyed brilliant starbursts of lights in the night sky.
The event was organized by an executive committee led by Sukagawa Mayor Katsuya Hashimoto. It consisted of four parts under the theme of "commemorating the 60th anniversary of Sukagawa's municipalization and heading for the future."
Among some 10,000 fireworks displayed were giant balls measuring 45 cm each in diameter, "reconstruction fireworks" dubbed "Yui" (bonds) set off amid singing by a chorus of selected students from the city's six junior high schools, and fireworks displayed along with music composed in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of city status. The fireworks captivated an estimated crowd of some 300,000 visitors from inside and outside the prefecture.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

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