Foreign visitors in Japan, Please avoid contaminated food!: ずくなしの冷や水

2014年06月20日

Foreign visitors in Japan, Please avoid contaminated food!

After the Chernobyl accident when I visited foreign countries, local people told me what to watch out to avoid contaminated food. I'm very thankful.

Unfortunately, now I have to give you some advice, including some things I suggest to Japanese people here. I hope it helps.

1. Try to eat food from your home country. Although it's hard to bring all food items with you to Japan, you can bring seasonings and spices. Traditional Japanese seasoning and spices will be more contaminated in the future. Be especially careful with Japanese broth made with ocean products.

2. For food items you need to purchase in Japan, avoid the banned items by the US in my article "Foreign visitors in Japan, let's work together to avoid internal exposure!"

Some Japanese people avoid items from all the listed prefectures in this chart. Some even avoid items from Kanagawa or Akita, the prefectures near the listed ones.

3. The radiation level in the atmosphere is decreasing after three years from the Fukushima accident. However, radionuclides keep moving along with the rain and wind, making hot spots with dense accumulation. Therefore, contamination is still going on with vegetables and animals. In spring 2014, they found highly contaminated koshiabura (Eleutherococcus sciadophylloides: a wild tree whose sprouts are eaten). Contamination of produce will continue.

4. Right after the accident, a lot of radionuclides fell into the Pacific Ocean. Even now, contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plants is leaking/released into the Pacific Ocean, contaminating ocean products with cesium, strontium, and other radionuclides. Traditionally seafood was used to treat foreign guests in Japan, but unfortunately seafood is contaminated now.

Especially concerning is strontium. There is no survey being conducted to see which product has what level of strontium contamination.

High levels of cesium are being found in fish from Pacific coastal areas. Eating these fish will pose a big health risk in the decades to come.

5. Learn how to read prefecture names in kanji. Start with the prefectures listed in the previous article, "Foreign visitors in Japan, let's work together to avoid internal exposure!" When you are not sure, ask which prefecture it's from: "nani ken desu ka?"

Asking the radiation level is not, however, a good question because store clerks don't know it. They can't answer and may be irritated by the question.

6. Only a small number of Japanese people try to avoid contaminated food. You will see celebs eating various good looking, tasty food on TV everyday. They are paid to do that. More news about health problems of those people keeps popping up.

Normal people don't have any immunity against radiation. If you have health problems, it costs money. If you become unable to work in Japan, your life is going to be difficult.

7. Maybe not all Japanese are nice to you, but there are people who are willing to support you. People you know may not have accurate information on how to avoid contaminated food; chances are they may not be even concerned.

In fact, those who are concerned are putting in a lot of effort to learn about radiation problems. Read my post, "In Support of Young Mothers," for example. The author of this article hopes foreign mothers in Japan, like Japanese mothers, avoid contaminated food. She would give you a helping hand if she has a chance.

8. Clean-up of Fukushima Daiichi faces tremendous hardship. Many worry that there is going to be another disaster. I recommend that you, together with your family and friends, be prepared to act fast in such occasion, based on accurate and appropriate information.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 13:11| Comment(0) | 福島原発事故
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