– Miyagi man who sold contaminated straw blames gov’t for scandal (Mainichi Daily News, July 19, 2011):
OSAKI, Miyagi — A man in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, who sold straw contaminated with high levels of radioactive cesium told the Mainichi on July 18 that he had never imagined that his straw was contaminated because the city is about 150 kilometers away from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
“The wind was in a different direction immediately after the hydrogen explosions, so I never thought it was contaminated. I really feel sorry,” the man said.
The man made the remarks in response to recent revelations that cows shipped from Fukushima Prefecture were fed with contaminated straw that he had shipped.
The man purchased straw from rice farmers in Osaki between late March and April and shipped it to Fukushima and Yamagata prefectures.
After learning that radioactive cesium was found in beef cows in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, earlier this month, the man sent straw samples to a private research entity to obtain a safety certificate.
But his straw was found to be contaminated even before he received the results of the sample survey.
“I have been in this business for some 20 years. I have really worked hard not to damage the trust of my customers, so these results are regrettable,” the man said.
He said ordinary farmers cannot take steps to deal with such cases unless the state and Miyagi Prefecture forewarn them of the dangers of rice straw. “If there had been a possibility of danger, even if only slightly, authorities should have conducted surveys much earlier,” he said.
Radioactive cesium has also been found in straw sold by traders in Tome and Kurihara in Miyagi Prefecture.