Foreign Policy Blogs

Radiation leak staunched, seafood contaminated

Radiation leaking into the ocean from the faulting Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant following the Mar. 11 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami has apparently been stopped. Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Naoki Tsunoda announced the company’s injection of 1500 liters of sodium silicate into a seaside pit that has been leaking radioactive iodine into the ocean has apparently stemmed the leak. Water near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant that tested at 7.5 million times the legal limit has dropped to 5 million times the legal limit.

These high radiation levels have led the government to set limits on the amount of radioactivity in fish. While the radioactive water will be highly diluted in the ocean, fish caught 50 miles from the plant have exceeded the safety limit. Some Japanese consumers, sensitive to fears of radiation, are shying away from sushi. India has imposed a three-month ban on all food imports from Japan.

The tsunami and radiation leak have damaged Japan’s fishing industry. The Japanese diet is highly dependent on seafood. This means the Japanese will have to import even more food, which could be problematic for a country that already depends on imports for 60 percent of its food. The value of the yen is expected to shoot up to 91 yen to the dollar by July, up from its all-time low of around 82 yen to the dollar last month, which will also make importing food more costly.

If the radiation leak has truly been stopped, then it is one shred of good news in a country that has had nothing but bad news since it was battered by last month’s disaster.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]