Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nuke crisis has Fukushima farmer worried over next year's crop, erosion of community - 13th Oct 2011

Rice grown in Fukushima Prefecture, host to the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, is officially safe to eat. All samples provided for testing registered radioactive cesium contamination below the government-mandated maximum, meaning the grain is cleared for shipment and will appear in supermarkets across Japan. Many farmers in the prefecture, however, have no rice to ship, as they gave up on planting a crop this year after the breakout of the nuclear crisis.

One such farmer is 61-year-old Yoko Kowaguchi, who owns a 7-hectare property with her husband in the Ohisa district of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, about 30 kilometers south of the nuclear plant. Her husband, left disabled by a combination of illness and a car accident three years ago, can no longer help her, and she does all the farm work herself.

"I never stopped working the fields, even when I was pregnant," she tells the Mainichi of her 38 years on the farm. She also says that, if worst comes to worst, her rice paddies may lie fallow again next year, too. Still, she cannot just abandon them, and this day finds her in the fields, grass cutter in hand.

The Kowaguchi farm has never come under the indoor advisory or evacuation zones; those ominous circles around the nuclear plant that have become regular fare on news sites. However the district of Iwaki right next door, Hisanohama, was part of the indoor advisory zone. This was too close for comfort, and the Kowaguchis fled the area, bouncing among the homes of their daughters and friends in the Fukushima Prefecture cities of Koriyama and Kitakata. Read More