5 October 2016
[Translated by Japan Times] More than five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, efforts by local farmers to regain consumer trust in their produce are finally paying off, with apples grown in the city of Fukushima chosen to be used in the annual World Cocktail Championships, which kicks off on Tuesday in Tokyo.
During the contest, which will run through Thursday at the Imperial Hotel, Fukushima-grown apples will be used in the fruit-cutting event scheduled for Wednesday. Several varieties of fruit will be used in the competition, but for apples, only those from Fukushima will be used.
The planned appearance of apples from the disaster-hit prefecture is due to a joint effort by the Fukushima Fruit Thanks Project, a group of fruit farmers from the northern region of the prefecture and Yoshikazu Suda, a bartender in Tokyo’s Ginza district who also hails from the prefecture.
Suda, who runs the Ginza Zenith bar, is from the city of Date. Since the triple-meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Suda has been working in cooperation with the farmers group to promote produce from the area.
As an executive director of the Nippon Bartenders Association and a director of a Ginza bar association, Suda saw the upcoming world championships as a great way to help promote fruit from the prefecture, which have experienced poor sales due to ongoing fears over radiation contamination.
Knowing the superior quality of Fukushima-grown fruit, Suda pitched the use of apples grown in the city of Fukushima for the competition.
“I’d be happy if using apples this time would be one way to help the reconstruction of my hometown,” Suda said.
During the competition, apples grown by Chusaku Anzai, who operates a fruit farm in the city of Fukushima, will be used.
“I want to convey the greatness of Fukushima fruit to bartenders from around the world,” said Anzai, 67, who is also vice chair of the farmers group.
To prepare for shipping, Anzai meticulously checked the condition of each apple at his farm earlier this month.
Some 500 bartenders from 53 countries will gather in Tokyo to take part in the championships, which will be held in Japan for the first time in 20 years.
Fukushima Mayor Kaoru Kobayashi has high hopes for the event and sees it as a chance to tout Fukushima as one of the nation’s top fruit producers.
“It’ll be a great opportunity to show the charm of Fukushima,” Kobayashi said.
7 October 2016
"Furoshiki" wrapping cloth and other handmade small cloth items produced by a group of evacuees from Iitate village, Fukushima Prefecture, have become popular in the Tokyo metropolitan region, where a British company has been promoting the products through its Japanese outlets. The Iitate Carnation Society, mainly comprising housewives living in temporary housing for evacuees in the Matsukawa district of Fukushima city, is producing the goods from used kimono donated to the group from across Japan as part of relief goods for people affected by the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daichi plant
The society’s products, commercialized by Lush Japan Co. based in Aikawa town, Kanagawa Prefecture, were put on sale in September at its four shops in Tokyo, located in Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. The company is affiliated with Lush Ltd. of Britain, a cosmetics and bath goods manufacturer. A Lush Japan employee offered to commercialize the group’s products in February this year.
An array of “furoshiki” wrapping cloth pieces, each 48 centimeters square, is on display at each Lush Japan shop, featuring a variety of colored designs and elegance. Beside the merchandise are notes written by society members about their thoughts as well as their photos. Visitors express empathy with the women producers’ feelings incorporated into their goods.
The society was set up by Hatsuno Sano in October 2012. It was based on the 67-year-old woman’s idea of making something from used kimono in the spirit of “madei,” an Iitate dialect meaning “cordial and courteous,” handed down for generations in the village. Its 20 members gather in a lounge of the Matsukawa temporary housing every month. They include those from other makeshift residential facilities elsewhere as well as free houses and apartments rented for evacuees by municipal authorities.
(Translated by Kyodo News)
2 October 2016
A municipal medical clinic got off to a busy start in the wholly evacuated town of Tomioka in Fukushima Prefecture on Oct. 1. It marked a step forward in the medical phase of the town’s rebirth after all residents were evacuated following the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Tomioka, located south of the crippled nuclear power station, has started temporary preparatory stays in a bid to have the central government’s evacuation order lifted as soon as next April
The Tomioka Clinic is headed by Satoshi Imamura, who operated Imamura Hospital in the town before the nuclear disaster. The 61-year-old physician was busy treating patients from the outset, including emergency cases brought to the clinic one after another.
Kazuya Saito, 57, and his mother Sachiko , 86, visited the clinic at the start of medical examination. Both are staying at their evacuated home under a program permitting temporary lodging to pave the way for permanent returns. “At long last, I was able to consult Dr. Imamura,” said Kazuya with a look of relief, who is unemployed. “Now I feel reassured.”
“I felt nostalgic to have been able to see patients I used to treat,” Imamura said. “I expect to make the clinic a medical institution which local residents can rely on.”
Areas of treatment at the clinic are internal medicine, surgery and psychiatry. It is currently open for three days a week -- Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It will be open for five days a week, from Tuesday through Saturday, from April next year. Business hours are from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. For inquiries, call 0240-22-6522.
(Translated by Kyodo News)