All Fukushima fish samples under radioactive cesium limit

Published on
January 17, 2017

A Fukushima Prefecture fishery laboratory in said on 11 January that levels of radioactive cesium in samples of fish and seafood caught off Fukushima Prefecture in 2016 were all below the national government’s limit of 100 Becquerels per kilogram.

Of the 8,502 samples collected, radioactive cesium was hardly detectable in 95 percent, while readings for another 422 samples were below the limit, the government said.

The proportion of samples surpassing the limit has fallen every year since 2011, when it was 39.8 percent. This declined to 16.5, 3.7, 0.9, and 0.05 percent in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. Radioactive cesium readings last surpassed the government limit in March 2015.

Meanwhile, the national government is trying to normalize the situation in Fukushima by declaring some evacuated areas safe for people to return to. Some areas of the town of Ukushima, near the reactor, are expected to be declared safe this August.

Also, Fukushima Prefecture will discontinue housing subsidies for evacuees from areas not actually from evacuation zones. Many such people evacuated out of fear, and these people are not eligible for housing subsidy payments from Tokyo Electric Power Co. Instead, Fukushima Prefecture has been supporting them from its own budget. Other prefectures where they have relocated have also subsidized their housing.

In March, Fukushima Prefecture will stop this support, hoping the people will return home and contribute to the economy. Nineteen other prefectures will do likewise, while 24 prefectures will continue to provide housing and other services free of charge. As of October 2016, there were 26,601 voluntary evacuees in 10,524 households.

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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