Radiation levels exceeding state-set limit found on grounds of five Chiba schools — The Japan Times

” Radiation levels exceeding the government-set safety limit of 0.23 microsieverts per hour have been detected on the grounds of five schools in the city of Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, the prefectural board of education said Monday.

Between late April and mid-May, the board officials detected radiation levels of up to 0.72 microsieverts per hour in certain areas of the schools, including Kashiwa High School and Kashiwa Chuo High School. The areas — including soil near a school swimming pool and drainage gutters — are not frequented by students, but the board closed them off and will work to quickly decontaminate them, the officials said.

Kashiwa has been one of the areas with high radiation readings since the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

According to NHK, the board of education had been checking the soil on the school premises in Kashiwa after radiation levels beyond the state limit were detected in shrubbery near the city’s public gymnasium. The board will announce the results of radiation tests at other schools in the prefecture around the end of July, NHK reported. ”

by Kyodo, The Japan Times

source

Advertisements

Radioactive waste mounts up as residents resist post-Fukushima disposal plans — The Asahi Shimbun

” A huge backlog of radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster that unfolded in 2011 has piled up as the government faces public resistance to the effects of disposal regulations introduced after the meltdown.

A total of 166,000 tons of contaminated waste, including incinerated ash and rice straws, has accumulated at temporary storage sites in 12 prefectures.

While the central government has made plans to construct disposal facilities for the waste in Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, strong opposition from local residents has stalled progress.

In Kami, Miyagi Prefecture, where construction of one of the plants is planned, residents have forcibly blocked Environment Ministry officials’ entry to the mooted construction site.

“The site is located in the middle of landslide-prone areas and it should not qualify as a location for such a facility,” one local resident said. “We demand the government calls off the project.”

Another said, “What is causing our anxiety is that it remains unclear who will take ultimate responsibility in solving this problem and how.”

The Environment Ministry has given up conducting inspections at the construction site in a mountainous area this year after failing to gain access to it several times since last year.

Ministry officials have insisted to residents that it is essential to promptly open the facility because the current temporary storage sites around the prefecture were chosen as an emergency measure.

A typhoon, flood and other natural disasters could cause the drift and spill of contaminated waste at any time, the officials say.

After the triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011 spewed massive radioactive fallout, the government categorized substances with radioactivity levels of more than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram as “designated waste.”

The government plans in principle to eventually make each of the affected prefectures to dispose of contaminated waste locally.

At one of the temporary storage sites in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture, 194 tons of contaminated rice straws are stored in polyvinyl houses.

Shigetaro Chiba, a 73-year-old farmer who rents the storage site’s land to the city office, expressed confusion over the prolonged use of his land, located next to his rice paddies, as a contaminated waste storage site.

“I was made to agree to extend the lease after the initial two-year period promised by the government expired. The new contract no longer specifies a deadline,” he said. ”

source

Updated 4/15/2015: Government calls Taiwan’s food-labeling move ‘regrettable’; Taiwan to check waste shipments from Japan for radiation — The Japan Times

Updated April 15, 2015, The Japan Times: ” The government on Tuesday called Taiwan’s plan to tighten regulations on Japanese food imports because of fears of radioactive contamination “extremely regrettable.”

The top government spokesman called on Taipei to use what he called “scientific findings” in drafting its rules.

“So far we have explained safety of foods produced in Japan and asked (Taiwan) to make judgment based on scientific findings,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable that Taiwan will strengthen regulations this time.”

On Monday, Taipei said it will introduce new regulations, possibly in mid-May, requiring all food imported from Japan to carry labeling declaring which prefecture it came from.

Four years after the meltdown at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Taiwan still bans the import of food produced in Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.

In March, Taiwan found that some products from those areas had been reaching its consumers. The scandal led to public outcry, prompting Taipei to announce the new import regulations.

Japan conducts sampling of foodstuffs for radioactive materials, and few samples are now being found to exceed safety levels.

Some wild vegetables, wild game, wild mushrooms, freshwater fish and bottom-dwelling ocean fish are among those that exceeded safe Japan’s mandated safety levels over the past year, and were thus banned from shipment.

Between April 1 last year and March 1, around 292,000 such samples were tested for radioactive cesium. Of them, 502, or 0.17 percent, exceeded the government regulation level, the health ministry said. In fiscal 2012, the rate was 0.85 percent. ”

source

* * *

Posted Nov. 6, 2014, The Japan Times: ” TAIPEI – Taiwan will conduct radiation checks on some types of container cargo arriving from Japan, the island’s legislature said on Wednesday.

The body’s Finance Committee ruled that waste materials such as plastic, scrap metal and paper must be checked with radiation meters upon arrival at the island’s four seaports: Keelung, Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

Jao Ping, director general of the Customs Administration agency, told reporters the measure will go into effect as early as this week.

On Monday, the committee passed a more onerous resolution requiring all container cargo from the ports of Tokyo and Yokohama to undergo radiation testing at the Port of Kaohsiung starting Nov. 17. It then backtracked on the decision.

The resolution was sponsored by Legislator Lu Shiow-yen of the ruling Nationalist Party, who argued that all cargo containers coming from or routed through Japan should be required to pass through Kaohsiung for radiation checks.

Kaohsiung Customs is the only division equipped with radiation detection monitors.

Lu’s proposal drew strong opposition from the Ministry of Finance and Customs Administration.

An official told reporters on Monday that the measure was unfeasible because it would lead to extra transportation expenses and cause major problems for exporters and importers.

The official also revealed that authorities would propose a revision to the resolution when the committee met again on Wednesday.

Lu’s office said she filed the motion because she saw a report in the Liberty Times newspaper in August saying that since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011, Kaohsiung Customs had detected 226 cargo containers originating from or routed through Japan with radiation levels exceeding the legal limit.

After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Taiwan banned food imports from five of Japan’s 47 prefectures — Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba — and has been conducting random radiation checks on 11 categories of imported foods.

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration announced late last month that it is planning to introduce regulations requiring foods imported from Japan to carry prefecture-specific labels of origin, with some items needing to undergo radiation checks by Japanese authorities.

Those regulations are expected to take effect as early as next year if no objections are filed within a 60-day window starting Oct. 29. ”

source

283 mislabeled Japanese food products originated near Fukushima — The China Post

” TAIPEI, Taiwan — More than 283 Japanese food products imported from the radiation-stricken areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster were found to be relabeled as having come from other areas of Japan and sold to local customers, authorities said yesterday.

Officials from New Taipei City’s Department of Health, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and other law-enforcement authorities, seized the mislabeled products, although a substantial portion had already been sold to consumers.

Authorities inspected warehouses in New Taipei City belonging to food companies such as Sheng Yu (盛裕), Li Tuo (勵拓), Sun Friend (上煬) and Tai Crown (太冠).

Health Department officials said Sheng Yu imported soy sauce labeled “Tokyo-made” last month. In reality, they were manufactured in areas that have import restrictions, such as Chiba (千葉), Gumma (群馬), Fukushima (福島), Ibaraki (茨城) and Tochigi (櫪木) prefectures.

Nineteen products originated from areas exposed to radiation and five other products have expired, the department said.

The department also investigated Li Tuo, Sun Friend and Tai Crown’s warehouses in Taishan, Xinzhuang and Xindian districts. They discovered several products from areas with import restrictions: seven from Li Tuo, 25 from Sun Friend and 19 from Tai Crown.

Further investigation revealed downstream companies that stock the imported products include well-known Japanese department stores, food chains and boutiques, including Wellcome (頂好), JPMed (日藥本舖), Matsusei (松青), Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (新光三越), B&Q (特力屋) and HOLA.

Officials have discovered a total of 2,391 kilograms of problematic products and will continue to investigate.

Food and Drug Administration chief Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) pointed out there has been a rise in reports of products from the five areas that were affected by the Fukushima crisis. The administration and police investigated areas including Hsinchu County, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City from March 19 to 21.

Investigators found around 3,000 products with mislabeled origins at the Port of Keelung. More than 300 products were reported to have been imported from the five prefectures exposed to radiation.

The investigations have proven to be difficult because Japanese and Taiwanese companies have different management practices, Chiang said. The administration has resolved to crack down on the 10 companies involved with the mislabeled products.

The Health Department has also said the companies will take responsibility and full refunds will be provided for consumers with products and receipts for purchases made on or after March 11, 2011.

Products found in violation of the law have been pulled from the shelves. The import companies have also been ordered to inform downstream sellers to cease the sale of all the said products within a week. ”

source

Three Chiba cities will store radioactive waste if state fails to build final disposal site, NHK says — The Japan Times

” Three cities in Chiba Prefecture that were heavily contaminated with radioactive materials as a result of the March 2011 nuclear meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant will build facilities to store incinerated radioactive waste in their own municipalities if the central government fails to find a final waste disposal site, NHK reported Monday.

The Chiba Prefectural Government is now temporarily in charge of “designated waste” — incinerated ash and other kinds of waste that contain more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactive materials per 1 kg — produced by the cities of Kashiwa, Matsudo and Nagareyama in northwestern Chiba [as close as seven miles from Tokyo!]. The three cities have produced a total of 526 tons of such waste, according to NHK.

While the central government is supposed to build final disposal facilities for designated nuclear waste, the prefectural government is also asking the three cities to bring the waste back to their own municipalities and dispose of it on their own, if the central government fails to build a disposal facility by next March, the broadcaster reported.

The three cities have agreed to the prefectural government’s request. The city of Kashiwa plans to submit a ¥410 million budget request to the municipal assembly this month in order to build a waste storage plant and transport the waste there, NHK said. ”

source