Fukushima rice exports to resume, first batch going to Singapore

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.