Risk almost nil of fish off Fukushima with radiocesium content above limit

1 March 2016

The risk of fish caught off Fukushima Prefecture being contaminated with radioactive cesium in excess of a government-set standard is “very low” and almost nil overall, according to a study published recently in a U.S. scientific journal. The study was compiled by a team of Japanese researchers led by Hiroshi Okamura, head of the Fisheries Research Agency’s Stock Management Group. It was carried by the electronic edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dated Feb. 29.

But the study found relatively high risks of contamination exceeding the Food Sanitation Act standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram in freshwater species such as white-spotted char and marine demersal species including Japanese white seaperch.

The study is based on the results of inspections on radioisotope contamination in food conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare following the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The research team focused on traces of contamination by cesium-134 and cesium-137, and estimated contamination levels as of September 2015.

Within the prefecture, the overall risk of contamination exceeding the standard has been decreasing almost consistently since the nuclear disaster and it was almost zero percent when “marine orgasms” and “freshwater orgasms” were taken together, according to the study. As for the risk of contamination exceeding 20 becquerels, it was almost nil for marine orgasms but 7.5% for freshwater orgasms.

(Translated by Kyodo News)