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Rice Planting to Resume in Fukushima

27 November 2012

JAPAN - The town government of Hirono and the village government of Kawauchi in Fukushima Prefecture have decided to resume planting rice next year.

Both municipal governments had asked farmers to voluntarily stop planting rice shortly after the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima number one nuclear power plant began, reports Asia One.

The Hirono town government has decided to resume rice planting in all areas, and the Kawauchi village government decided to plant rice in areas other than that formerly designated as a no-entry zone.

It will be the first resumption of rice planting in areas designated as emergency evacuation preparation areas.

Though many farmers welcomed the decisions, some voiced concern about whether the rice could be sold.

This month, the Hirono town government began decontaminating about 400 hectares of farmland by using techniques such as a process called sparging in conjunction with the mineral zeolite, which can absorb radioactive substances.

The town government aims to complete the work by the end of this fiscal year.

Yoshiyuki Haga, 65, evacuated to Chiba Prefecture after the start of the nuclear crisis but later returned to Hirono. He has been removing weeds in his rice paddies since August last year.

"If I can grow rice, the town will be revitalised even if only a little," he said. "Some of the residents will return."

But it is uncertain how many farmers among the town's 400 farming households will resume planting rice.

Some farmers voiced concern about whether they will be able to sell the rice they produce.

TheCropSite News Desk

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