Rice From Inside Fukushima 30-Kilometer Zone Delivered to Emperor
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Rice From Inside Fukushima 30-Kilometer Zone Delivered to Emperor


As requested by Japanese Emperor Akihito, some of the first rice harvested in Fukushima prefecture since the March 11, 2011 disaster and subsequent nuclear meltdown has been delivered to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Imperial Household Agency confirmed that 120 kilograms of Koshihikari premium rice from the town of Hirono arrived on Tuesday.

Hirono, a seaside municipality of less than 6,000 people, is located just 20 kilometers from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The town was included in the emergency evacuation zone after the earthquake and tsunami that created one of the world’s most severe nuclear disasters. Public health concerns about irradiated Fukushima produce have devastated the livelihoods of local residents.

“As a sign of good faith, Hirono Mayor Motohoshi Yamada turned over around 1,920 kilograms of freshly harvested rice to [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe, which would be served at the different staff cafeterias of government agencies, including the Imperial Househould Agency,” reported The Japan Daily Press. “When Emperor Akihito found out about the delivery on November 20, he requested that some of the rice be given to the Imperial Palace so they could also partake of it.”

Jiji Press quoted Emperor Akihito as saying, “We want to have some too, because the rice must have been grown with great effort.”

Farmers in Fukushima began planting rice in the 30-kilometer zone around the plant last May, following the completion of decontamination efforts that included adding a new layer of topsoil from non-contaminated areas.

An Imperial Household Agency spokesperson added that the rice would be served in the compound’s dining halls as well as the emperor and empress’s private residence.

Akihito’s request comes less than one month after a Japanese lawmaker made headlines by presenting the emperor with a handwritten letter that expressed concern over the potential health risks faced by Fukushima residents.

Taro Yamamoto, an actor turned anti-nuclear politician, broke Japanese taboo by engaging the emperor in a political matter. Though Akihito passed the letter on to a chamberlain without reading it, Yamamoto was fiercely criticized by fellow parliamentarians and pundits alike. Many called for his resignation, with the disgraced lawmaker also receiving death threats and a knife in the mail.

“I wanted to directly tell the emperor of the current situation,” Yamamoto told reporters following the incident. “I wanted him to know about the children who have been contaminated by radiation. If this goes on, there will be serious health impacts.”

Yamamoto has since been banned from attending events hosted by the Imperial family.

Whether the request for Fukushima rice was a publicity stunt or a true gesture of solidarity remains uncertain as Japan remains divided over the issue of Fukushima-area food safety and nuclear energy at large.

December 1, 2013 at 23:44

Such bs, he won’t be eating that rice. But perhaps the peasants will – “Let them eat rice”
On a more serious note, I don’t care about these waste of time fluff stories, when the world’s safety is at stake! and when there seems to be no viable solution for stopping the spewing of the radioactive particles into the pacific ocean, which has been occurring for 2 yrs and 8 months now. Oh, and of course let’s not talk about the elephant in the room, the extremely precarious situation at Fukushima, wherein it is only a matter of time that there will be another huge disaster, and there are a number of scenarios that could cause this to happen at any time, man made fuel removal, earthquake, tsunami, one of the buildings collapsing, and others, but let’s not talk about that and how it could cause a release of 14,000 x the amount of radiation that was released on Hiroshima and that will be the end of life as we know it, especially for all life on the Northern hemisphere.
Very, very sad indeed. :(

November 30, 2013 at 13:01

The emperor has been in Fukushima three times, while this Taro Yamamoto hasn’t been there even once. People like Yamamoto are only pulling legs of the efforts of the locals and government from the true recovery of the area. More respect for the emperor, who makes every effort to morally lead its people.

Choose Carefully
November 30, 2013 at 07:26

It is hard to believe that a nation could be this deep in denial. To continue to harm the people in the name of good public relations is tragic. If only they would call on the whole world to come and help them solve this problem! Many lives might be saved if only they could face the truth. Sad. One brave man had the courage to tell the truth. I hope many more will stand up and be heard before it is too late for the wonderful nation of Japan and her people.

November 30, 2013 at 13:07

hmmmm… no one has died yet due to radioactivity from Fukushima plants. Ignorants like you only make the matter worse.

November 30, 2013 at 21:57

So says the person who doesn’t know how to use the word “ignorant” correctly.

Let's be rational
December 1, 2013 at 01:32

Before you Punic and become a fear-monger yourself, let’s study rationally, shall we?

*Fukushima Fact and Fiction


*Fukushima disaster has not raised cancer risks, says UN


*Radiation and Reason Why radiation at modest dose rates is quite harmless and current radiation safety regulations are flawed


*A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 – by Isao Hashimoto

Hiroshi Suzuki
November 30, 2013 at 03:35

Fukushima getting worse
November 25, 2013 freepress.org

The whole world is trying to watch….so Tokyo Electric has complained that the media is actually photographing their operations! With a state secrets act on its way, we anticipate a formal crackdown. Tokyo Electric wants to open four other reactors in Japan and pursues overseas investments while toying with the fate of the Earth at Fukushima.

Fukushima radiation has been confirmed off the coast of Alaska, & will soon be in California. Reports from the Pacific of the disappearance of sardines and salmon, the death of California sea lion pups, a horrible plague among starfish off the northwest coast of the US, and much more, remind us how little we know about the effects of pouring gargantuan quantities of radiation into the ocean.

And that the survival of human life on our planet has never been more threatened.


Let's be rational
December 1, 2013 at 02:36

Goodness, do you realise it gets diluted in the sea?
See what happens when you mix one drop of ink in your bath and think if you can.

For those sea creatures to face death, how much radiation is needed at Fukushima?!?!?!

Please read those scientists’ articles in my reply to ‘Choose Carefully’ above and watch the video how much radiation we’d already received with nuclear explosions before Fukushima.

Then please explain why you’re sensationalising ONLY Fukushima.

November 29, 2013 at 13:28

I like the contrast, China’s leaders have their own special farms that serve them exclusively in Zhongnanhai, meanwhile Japan’s head of state deliberately shows consolidation with the people by using that rice for himself and his family.

November 30, 2013 at 21:52

How do you know he’s gonna eat it? :P

November 30, 2013 at 21:59

Do you think he’ll feed his granddaughter that rice? I didn’t think so.

amit (India)
November 28, 2013 at 23:32

I think this shows why Japan will always be a great nation.

November 29, 2013 at 16:04

The Emperor should read this… And he should check that he has some clothes on before his next appearance in public:



Share your thoughts

Your Name
Your Email
required, but not published
Your Comment

Sign up for our weekly newsletter
The Diplomat Brief