” SHIROISHI, Miyagi Prefecture–The mayor of a town near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant filed a complaint Nov. 20 against Shiroishi city for providing radiation-contaminated pasture grass to a local farmer.
Mayor Tamotsu Baba of Namie town visited the Shiroishi city office to hand a written complaint to Toru Sasaki, the deputy mayor, saying the city’s action “lacked consideration” for the sentiments of Namie residents.
Sasaki defended the city’s decision, saying that it is legal to transfer feed grass that contains 8,000 becquerels or less per kilogram of radioactive fallout from the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
“It was a humanitarian act aimed at assisting farmers and stock farms,” Sasaki told Baba.
The central government is responsible for safely disposing of pasture grass that contains radiation levels exceeding 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. It has requested that local governments dispose of grass with levels at 8,000 becquerels or lower, just like other waste that is not contaminated with radiation.
After the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, all residents of Namie, located north of the crippled facility, were evacuated. The evacuees spread out across Japan.
From late October to mid-November, the city of Shiroishi gave about 1,100 contaminated grass rolls that had accumulated at temporary storage sites around the city to a cattle farm in Namie.
The “ranch of hope” stock farm is operated by Masami Yoshizawa, who defied the government edict to kill all livestock cows exposed to radiation, and feeds 330 cows consigned by local farmers who were forced to close their ranches.
Yoshizawa accepted Shiroishi city’s request to bring in contaminated pasture grass, much of which cannot be used for feeding cows as the rolls contain more than 100 becquerels of radiation per kilogram.
Like many municipalities affected by radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster, Shiroishi has had trouble disposing of the contaminated grass through incineration due to opposition from local residents.
The farm ministry and Miyagi prefectural government had requested Shiroishi on Nov. 18 to stop transferring contaminated pasture grass to Namie, saying such actions could spread misinformation on contamination of stock farm products and hinder the area’s recovery. ”