Late last week, the Japanese government lifted a ban on shipments of beef from Fukushima, Iwate and Tochigi Prefectures, bringing minor relief to farmers whose livelihoods had been threatened by the discovery in late July that over 4,000 kilograms of cesium-contaminated beef had hit the shelves at Aeon, one of Japan’s biggest supermarkets. Not that the pressure has been entirely lifted, of course. Amongst everyday folk as much as the farmers themselves, confusion is rife.
Unsurprisingly, few can tell a becquerel from a sievert, and plenty feel that this lack of knowledge has allowed the government and nuclear industry to patronise and mislead them. Couple that with the perception that the country’s leaders have no real idea themselves (Japan just lost its sixth prime minister in five years in a mess of backstabbing and ineptitude), and the current sense of mistrust is wholly justifiable.Read More