Record-high 87% of Fukushima consumers rely on local products for food needs

An overwhelming 87.1% of consumers in Fukushima Prefecture said in response to a recent survey that they mostly purchase local products to meet their foodstuff needs. The fiscal 2015 survey, published on Feb. 1 by the Fukushima Prefecture Liaison Council of Consumer Organizations, showed the ratio represented an increase of 9 percentage points from the previous year, marking the highest level on record since the group began the survey in fiscal 2012 over rumors stemming from the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The council believes consumer anxiety has been weakening in the wake of the establishment of a system to check radioactive substances in food, among other factors. The group handed questionnaires to 1,300 consumers, including 100 of its members, at various event venues and other places in the prefecture, obtaining replies from 1,214 people (93.4% of the total) in 26 municipalities. According to the survey, 881 consumers, or 72.6% of the respondents, said they buy local products in their neighborhood to meet most of their foodstuff needs and 176 others or 14.5% said they do so elsewhere in the prefecture, adding up to a combined total of 87.1%. Asked about the advisability of screening every bag of rice harvested in the prefecture for radioactive substances instead of checking selected samples, 987 respondents or 81.3% supported the blanket screening as has been done so far. As for the desirable period of continuing the comprehensive screening, 346, or 35% of those favoring it, cited five to 10 years. (Translated by Kyodo News)