Tue, Dec 05, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Tokyo organizers to feed IOC food from Fukushima

AFP, TOKYO

International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials are to be fed produce from northern Japan hit by the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, as Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics organizers aim to dispel fears over food from the region.

“Restoration of the disaster-hit area is an important pillar of our Games,” a spokeswoman for the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee told reporters.

“By offering food from three disaster-hit prefectures, we hope to sweep away the false reputation of food from the regions and contribute to the restoration,” she said.

At a dinner during next week’s three-day visit by the committee, Tokyo organizers are planning to offer fine food from the disaster-hit region and invite governors of the three prefectures to the meal, the official said.

The regions are famous for rice, pork, mackerel and apples, but details of the menu are yet to be finalized, she added.

The northern Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate were devastated in 2011 by a huge quake-triggered tsunami, and the resulting nuclear accident contaminated large swathes of land and tainted the water with radiation.

Right after the disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 — 54 countries imposed import bans on Japanese-produced food “for fear of contamination with radioactive materials,” Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Maiko Kubo told reporters.

More than six years after the disaster, 25 countries have completely ended the ban and the EU just days ago further loosened its rules, scrapping its requirements for safety certificates for rice grown in Fukushima, she said.

However, Taiwan still has a trade ban on food from five regions and China from 10 prefectures. Food from the affected areas has to pass strict Japanese safety tests before being put on the market.

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