75% of consumers, wholesalers "ready to buy" Fukushima fish "without doubt"

26 July 2017

About 75% of consumers and intermediate wholesalers surveyed in Tokyo are "ready to buy" fish from Fukushima Prefecture "without doubt" when there are displays showing the level of radioactive substances contained is less than the national standard, far exceeding 5% who "will not buy," according to the results of a questionnaire taken by the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations. The survey was conducted on July 22 at the Tsukiji Uogashi (riverside fish market) complex adjacent to Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market.

A total of 297 people replied to questions on Fukushima seafood in the survey. Of the respondents, 69% said they know fish caught in test operations in the sea off the prefecture is checked for radioactive content before shipment to markets. Asked if they will allow their family members and relatives younger than 18 to eat fish found to contain radioactive substances less than the standard, 70% said they will and 26% answered otherwise.

The federation issues examination certificates for wholesale markets when fish caught in test operations are shipped to those markets in an effort to dispel anxiety over the safety of prefectural seafood stemming from the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Given the survey results, federation officials said they "will urge shops and other retail outlets outside Fukushima to display examination certificates."

The survey outcome was reported at a meeting of fisheries cooperative association chiefs in the prefecture held in Iwaki city on July 25.

■Trawl fishing catch up 740 tons

The volume of fish caught by bottom trawling boats in Fukushima in the 10 months from September 2016 to June 2017 totaled about 1,445 tons, representing an increase of some 740 tons from the same period a year before, according to a report by the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station at the meeting. The increase was attributed to the launch of the fishing of "hirame" flatfish, a mainstay species, among other factors.

At the meeting, Tsunemasa Niitsuma, deputy representative of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Revitalization Headquarters in Tomioka town, apologized for remarks made earlier by the utility's chairman, Takashi Kawamura, about releasing wastewater containing radioactive tritium into the ocean from the crippled plant. "We deeply apologize for causing worries to the parties concerned as the chairman failed to convey his true intentions," Niitsuma said.

(Translated by Kyodo News)