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