Members of the Green Consumers’ Foundation, a Taiwanese environmental group, visited Japan’s Chiba Prefecture on Tuesday to test radiation levels in the soil, as the debate over whether to lift the ban on food imports from radiation-affected areas of the country has become a hot-button issue in Taiwan.
The tests conducted by the group, broadcast in a series of live Facebook broadcasts, were carried out in a rice paddy in Imba-numa. About 1 kilogram of soil was collected from the paddy field and tested for radiation.
In the broadcasts, Jay Fang (方儉), chairman of the foundation, said all three of the tests showed that the soil contained the radioactive element Caesium-137, which has a half-life of about 30 years.
One of the tests showed the soil sample containing up to 19.256 becquerel per kilogram (bq/kg) of Caesium-137, Fang said.
Anti-nuclear power campaigner Lin Jui-chu (林瑞珠) said that the results demonstrated Chiba Prefecture is still suffering from the effects of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. It remains to be seen how big an impact that has had on produce grown in the area, she said.
In Taiwan, the maximum permitted Caesium-134 & 137 level in foodstuffs is 100 bq/kg in general food, 50 bq/kg in infant formula and milk products, and 10 bq/kg in drinking water.
Since March 25, 2011, Taiwan has banned the import of food from Japan’s Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, which were contaminated with radioactive substances following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Taiwan’s government is now considering lifting the ban on food imports from all the prefectures except Fukushima, but has encountered vociferous opposition.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel