– #Radioactive Produce: National Government Told Fukushima Farmers to Farm as Usual (EX-SKF, September 4, 2011):
It is unconfirmed information, which may not be confirmed at all even if it is true as it may have been the “administrative guidance” from the government without a formal document. Plausible deniability has been one of Japan’s forte over hundreds of years if not thousand.
A resident of Fukushima City, responding to one of the tweets about why the farmers in Fukushima farmed at all this year and continue to sell produce even when they are aware that the land is heavily contaminated with radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, says the following:
Everyone was saying “We can’t farm this year”. Then the national government said to them, “Farm as usual”.
She also says in an earlier tweet:
I live in Fukushima City. None of the people around me eat [Fukushima produce]. Even the farmers say “We can’t eat this year[‘s produce]”. I personally believe it’s “we can’t eat from now on”.
Vegetables, meat, rice that even some people in Fukushima don’t eat are being promoted and sold all over Japan.
To the defense of Fukushima farmers, I am aware that there are many who stopped farming after the accident, and stopped selling their produce because they do not want to force potentially contaminated food on the consumers.
Another “un-confirmable” evidence of the national government’s culpability is one particular tweet from March which I cannot locate any more but I remember very vividly. It was from someone whose family was the rice farmer in Niigata Prefecture. The JA (agricultural producer co-op) in the area held a meeting and decided to increase the area for planting rice because they thought the rice production in Fukushima would be significantly reduced because of the nuclear accident. To that request, the national government (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) answered not to bother, and told them to reduce the area for planting rice as scheduled.
Extend and pretend. The national government wanted to pretend to the farmers, to the citizens of Japan and to the outside world that everything was normal, and insisted the farmers in Fukushima till the land and plant just like last year, and the rice farmers in Niigata to reduce their crop as agreed last year. Many Fukushima farmers, even though their good senses told them that might be a bad idea, went along for whatever reason, tilled the land and planted.
No doubt they were soothed by the comforting message from Dr. Shunichi Yamashita, who was all over Fukushima preaching it was safe and everything was OK.
As the result, radioactive cesium, plutonium, cobalt, and whatever else fell on top of the soil were turned over with the soil and buried deeper and mixed with clean soil.
And this national government under the new administration continues to say it will be responsible for decontamination. It is as if they wanted the soil contamination to go deeper so that the decontamination would be on a much, much bigger scale than otherwise, creating bigger and costlier projects for the well-connected companies and individuals.
The minister who will be in charge of decontamination and other massive cleanup efforts says we have to share the pain of Fukushima, even as the pain was partly caused and made worse by his government to begin with.
I suppose they could justify the astronomical scale of decontamination by saying “it will create jobs in the area”, which is exactly what they said when they promoted nuclear power plants in rural areas of Japan in the 1960s.
Dig the ditch, bury the ditch, as long as it create jobs. Japanese Keynesians still hard at work. It’s just that “ditch” is radioactive.