JDR Vol.16 No.8 pp. 1274-1285
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2021.p1274


Radioactive Contamination Countermeasures, Food Inspection Systems, and the Issue of Reputational Damage in the Early Stages of the Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima Prefecture

Ryota Koyama*,† and William D. Y. McMichael**

*Faculty of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Fukushima University
1 Kanayagawa, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1296, Japan

Corresponding author

**Fukushima University International Center, Fukushima University, Fukushima, Japan

July 6, 2021
October 15, 2021
December 1, 2021
Great East Japan Earthquake, radioactive contamination, rice cultivation, food inspection systems, reputational damage

This paper overviews the achievements and challenges of radioactive contamination countermeasures, food inspection systems, and reputational damage to agricultural products in Fukushima Prefecture during the early stages of the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster. It outlines the effectiveness of early countermeasures such as absorption control measures and soil decontamination, and observes how efforts aimed at revitalizing afflicted areas were initiated and advanced primarily through the leadership of residents and agricultural producers. Furthermore, it examines food inspection systems such as the “all-bag-all-volume” testing system for rice that was implemented in Fukushima, and suggests that a failure to extend such countermeasures to outside of Fukushima Prefecture was a contributing factor to the ongoing issue of reputational damage and consumer reluctance to purchase products from the area. Lastly, the paper categorizes early consumer trends in four groups based on differing perceptions of risk and safety, and concludes that dealing with reputational damage should entail creating maps of radioactive material distribution, and also building a rational inspection system that allows consumers to objectively identify the safety of agricultural products.

Cite this article as:
Ryota Koyama and William D. Y. McMichael, “Radioactive Contamination Countermeasures, Food Inspection Systems, and the Issue of Reputational Damage in the Early Stages of the Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima Prefecture,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.16, No.8, pp. 1274-1285, 2021.
Data files:
  1. [1] R. Koyama, “Towards Effective Countermeasures Against Reputation Damage,” Institute for Int. Studies and Training (IIST) e-Magazine, 2013.
  2. [2] R. Koyama and H. Ishii, “The Systemization of Radioactivity Inspection for Food Products and Steps to Counteract Reputational Damage in Fukushima, Japan,” J. of Commerce, Economics and Economic History, Vol.82, No.4, pp. 15-22, 2014.
  3. [3] R. Koyama, “The Influence and Damage caused by the Nuclear Disaster on Fukushima’s Agriculture,” J. of Commerce, Economics and Economic History, Vol.81, No.4, pp. 11-21, 2013.
  4. [4] R. Koyama, “Farmland Radiation Dose Distribution Map and Food Safety Inspection Systematization,” J. of Commerce, Economics and Economic History, Vol.81, No.2, pp. 5-13, 2012.
  5. [5] Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, “Extent of transfer of radioactive cesium in agricultural soil to vegetables and fruits,” 2011 (in Japanese).
  6. [6] K. Nemoto, “Transfer of radioactive cesium to rice,” Kagaku to Seibutsu, Vol.51, No.1, pp. 43-45, 2013 (in Japanese).
  7. [7] N. Nihei, K. Tanoi, and T. M. Nakanishi, “Monitoring inspection for radiocesium in agricultural, livestock, forestry and fishery products in Fukushima prefecture,” J. of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, Vol.307, No.3, pp. 2217-2220, 2016.
  8. [8] H. Tsukada, “Migration of radionuclides from soil to crops,” Japan Society of Radiation Safety Management June Symp., 2012 (in Japanese).
  9. [9] S. Harada and M. Yanagisawa, “Evaluation of a method for removing cesium and reducing the volume of leaf litter from broad-leaved trees contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident during the Great East Japan Earthquake,” Chemosphere, Vol.172, pp. 516-524, 2017.
  10. [10] M. Shin et al., “Behavior of radiocesium in decontaminated paddy fields in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan,” Paddy and Water Environment, Vol.17, No.4, pp. 703-714, 2019.
  11. [11] K. Nemoto, “Crop damage caused by radioactivity and absorption control technology,” Proc. of the Crop Science Society of Japan, Vol.81, pp. 356-357, 2012 (in Japanese).
  12. [12] K. Nemoto, “Radioactive Cesium in Rice Field,” Gakujutsu no Doukou, Vol.17, No.10, pp. 10_22-10_26, 2012 (in Japanese).
  13. [13] K. Nemoto and J. Abe, “Radiocesium Absorption by Rice in Paddy Field Ecosystems,” Agricultural Implications of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, pp. 19-27, 2013.
  14. [14] T. Koike, “The Development of Japanese Agriculture and the Role of Municipal Agricultural Policy,” Ie no Hikari, 1997 (in Japanese).
  15. [15] M. Nakajima, “New Developments in Local Government Agricultural Policy,” Research Society for Local Authorities, 2011 (in Japanese).
  16. [16] T. Komatsu and R. Koyama, “The Significance of Understanding the Actual Situation of Radioactive Substances Contamination by Residents,” J. of the Agricultural Economics Society of Japan, pp. 223-230, 2012 (in Japanese).
  17. [17] T. Komatsu, “Significance of Self-Inspection for Radioactive Substances at a Direct Farm Produce Market and Establishment of a Support System: A Case Study of Former Towa Town, Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture,” Japanese J. of Farm Management, Vol.51, No.3, pp. 37-42, 2013 (in Japanese).
  18. [18] T. Komatsu, “Reconstruction of Fruit Tree Management and Revitalization of Production Areas: Voluntary Inspection and Consumer Awareness in Fukushima Prefecture,” R. Koyama and T. Komatsu (Eds.), “Revitalization of Agriculture and Food Safety: Two Years after the Nuclear Accident and Fukushima,” Shinnihon Shuppansha, pp. 163-190, 2013 (in Japanese).
  19. [19] H. Karaki, “Issues raised by the Science Council of Japan’s ‘Urgent Proposal’ on harmful rumors about agricultural products produced in Fukushima Prefecture,” Isotope News, No.718, pp. 38-41, 2014 (in Japanese).
  20. [20] R. Koyama, “Systematization of radiation distribution maps of farmland and food safety inspections,” Kagaku, Vol.82, No.8, pp. 857-863, 2012 (in Japanese).
  21. [21] T. Hamada, “Chapter 8: The Structure of Media Disasters,” “Fisheries and the Great East Japan Earthquake,” Misuzu Shobo, 2013 (in Japanese).
  22. [22] S. Shimizu, “What was the Nuclear Power Plant After All – The Meaning of Living in Fukushima Now,” Tokyo Shimbun, 2012 (in Japanese).

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera.

Last updated on Jan. 20, 2022