Fukushima halts shipments of rice from Watari district

12/05/2011
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TOKYO (majirox news) — TOKYO (majirox news) –Japan has banned rice shipments from the Watari district of Fukushima City after tests showed they exceeded the legal limits of radioactive cesium, authorities said Monday. The district is about 60 km (38) miles northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The rice measured between 510 and 590 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram (2.2 pounds). Under Japanese regulations, rice with up to 500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram is the maximum level that is considered safe for consumption.

About 406 farms on approximate 165 acres in Watari have produced nearly 825 tons, which is 0.24 percent of the entire prefecture.

Last month, the prefectural government banned rice shipments from the Onami district of Fukushima City, located next to Watari.

Rice is a staple part of the Japanese diet, with many homes eating it three times a day.

Fukushima prefecture is one of the top producers of fruits, vegetables and rice in the nation.

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