(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Amongst a lively group of keen Fukushima followers who attended a symposium at UC Berkely’s Institute of East Asian Studies, a brave organic Japanese tea farmer by the name of Ayumi Kinezuka spoke about the confusing post 3-11 agricultural climate currently affecting Japan’s widely contaminated farmlands.
According to Kinezuka, the situation is so uncertain that most farmers remain in the dark as to the levels of deadly radioactive pollution plaguing their crops and soil. Apparently, the local and national governments have been virtually invisible in their lackluster attempts to regulate and test farmlands for nuclear contamination since the disaster’s inception. Many of the region’s tea and rice growers, particularly those like Ayumi, who have dedicated themselves to sustainable horticultural practices, are doing their best to test their own crops for radiation. However, plenty of others desperately continue to harvest agricultural products from locations much CLOSER to the site of the nuclear catastrophe, without ANY sort of testing or regulatory oversight.
Ms. Kinezuka also spoke without reserve about how the situation has become so grim for farmers that there has been a noteworthy pandemic of suicides within the agricultural community. While Japan continues to export crops of questionable safety, such as the recent shipments of radioactive peaches that were busted in Thailand, the government fails to engage in any real measures of monitoring and enforcement, leaving Japanese farmers in a situation of “SELF-REGULATION”.
The conversation also covered ground regarding her grave concern surrounding the ominous and highly controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which Kinezuka says will devastate Japans own self-sufficiency, lowering Japans internal ability to feed and take care of themselves. It was stated in the interview that this devastating international alliance would reduce the flailing countries’ internal food production from 40% to 13% rendering them even more impotent and reliant on agricultural and consumer imports. Josh Cunnings reporting.