1st rice harvest for sale in Namie town since nuclear crisis

Rice crops grown for commercial sales were harvested on Oct. 13 in the Sakata district of Namie town for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. The district, near the crippled plant, remains one of the areas where residence is restricted by the central government due to lingering radioactive fallout. Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba visited farmer Kiyoto Matsumoto’s field and joined him in harvesting a rice crop. “The revival of the (town’s) agricultural sector will build momentum toward residents’ permanent return home,” Baba said, gazing into the golden grains of cropped rice. The harvested rice will be tested for radioactive substances and checked for safety before being shipped via the JA Futaba agricultural group to the national government’s rice reserves and other outlets. Rice crops cultivated on an experimental basis were harvested in the district for the first time in 2014 and all were below the maximum level of radiation allowed under the Food Sanitation Law, which bans the sale of rice containing more than 100 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. (Translated by Kyodo News)