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Questions and Answers about Fishery products (Monitoring for radioactive materials)(Provisional translation)

Q 1. What is the standard limit of radioactive materials in fishery products?

A. Since April 1, 2012, the standard limit of radioactive cesium in fishery products has been 100 Bq/kg. This standard limit assumed that the exposure dose of radioactive substances other than radioactive cesium (strontium-90, plutonium, ruthenium-106) is approximately 12% of the exposure dose from all foods. The standard limit was set using cesium as a representative radioactive substance from among those that were emitted in the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station disaster, as it has the highest contribution rate to radiation dose from food products and is relatively easy to measure. Even if, for example, half(*) of the food that one eats everyday contains 100 Bq/kg of radioactive substances, and one continues eating this for one year, this standard limit ensures that the exposure dose over the year that one additionally receives is 0.9mSv or less.

 Up until March 31, 2012, a provisional standard limit of 500 Bq/kg was applied.

 

(*) Taking the food self-sufficiency rate, etc. in Japan into consideration, a case where half of the food products (all domestic products) that are distributed contain radioactive substances is assumed.

 

(Reference)

New Standard limits for Radionuclides in Foods(by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare)

Q 2. How is monitoring for radioactive materials in fishery products conducted?

A.To ensure safety of fishery products and consumers’ confidence, the Fisheries Agency has, in close cooperation with relevant ministries, prefectural governments and industrial organizations, implemented monitoring surveys on a weekly basis in accordance with the “Concepts of Inspection Planning and the Establishment and Cancellation of Items and Areas to which Restriction of Distribution and/or Consumption of Foods concerned Applies (revised on March 25, 2016).” These monitoring surveys center on certain fishery products of which sample exceeded 50 Bq/kg the previous year, as well as major fishery products in relevant prefectures. In addition, if a value that is close to the standard limit is detected, monitoring of that fishery product is strengthened.

 

Because several fish species relocate their habitats depending on their growth stage or the season, the Fisheries Agency constantly checks the monitoring results of relevant prefectures. When a high value is detected in a certain prefecture, neighboring prefectures are contacted immediately, and monitoring of that particular fish species as well as of species with similar ecologies is strengthened.

 

(Reference)

Research for radioactive materials on fishery products(Summary) (Japanese only)

Results of the monitoring on radioactivity level in fisheries products

Concepts of Inspection Planning and the Establishment and Cancellation of Items and Areas to which Restriction of 
Distribution and/or Consumption of Foods concerned Applies (Japanese only)

Radioactive materials and fish  (PDF:287KB) 

Q 3. Are there any effects from radioactive strontium? I am worried about juvenile sand lance and whitebait, since it is typical to eat their bones as well. Are there any effects from tritium?

A. The standard limit for radioactive substances in fishery products such as juvenile sand lance and whitebait are established using the value for radioactive cesium as a representation, upon considering the effects of radioactive strontium (hereinafter “strontium-90”). As it takes extensive labor and a long period of time to accurately measure strontium-90, strontium-90 inspections are not implemented in monitoring of food products by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The National Research and Development Agency, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency has measured strontium-90 in 58 fish species and 118 specimen up until now as part of their research programs, and has published these results. Strontium-90 has not been detected in many cases, and even if it was detected, its concentration was within a range of 0.015 to 1.2 Bq/kg (as of December 5, 2016).

 

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is also measuring strontium-90, etc. in food products based on market basket surveys. TEPCO also publishes the results of analyses conducted on fish species that were caught within a 20 km range of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

 

Tritium is a radioisotope of hydrogen. In the natural environment, tritium is generated in the atmosphere due to cosmic rays, and it exists mainly in the form of water in the environment. The energy of beta rays emitted from tritium is weak (the effective dose if it is ingested orally as water is approximately 1/700 that of cesium-137), and even if it is introduced into fishery products, it is not accumulated for the most part and excreted promptly. Thus, its concentration factor in fishery products is deemed as being almost 1 (the cesium concentration factor in fish is 5 to 100).

 

The Nuclear Regulation Authority publishes the results of measured values of tritium in seawater in the water areas around the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. For example, at a fixed point within a 5 km range of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the results of sampling water from 50 cm below sea level in July 2014 was 0.12 to 0.20 Bq/L, and this value is less than 1/50,000 the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality (10,000 Bq/L; 2L consumed per day). The tritium concentration detected in the seawater in Japan in the ten years before the earthquake was 0.020 to 3.0 Bq/L.

 

Since tritium is not being emitted into the environment continuously and at a high concentration that must be taken into consideration, in monitoring of foods implemented by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, inspections for tritium are not implemented. The measurement results for tritium in fish species sampled within a 20 km range of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station by TEPCO are published, in which the value is 0.052 to 0.09 Bq/kg (FY2015), which is nearly the same value as the concentration in seawater below sea level near sampling points (0.073 to 0.15 Bq/kg, FY2015). The tritium concentration detected in fish species in Japan in the 10 years before the earthquake was 0.13 to 3.0Bq/L.

 

(Reference)

Results of the inspection on radioactivity level in fisheries products

Monitoring results of sea area (sea water)

Monitoring by sampling (by TEPCO)

Report on the Monitoring of Radionuclides in Fishery Products (Summary)

 

Q 4. What are the impacts on fishery products from radioactive materials released into the sea? As there are instances of water overflowing from some drainage ditches into the ocean, and of groundwater pumped from wells (sub-drains) near reactor buildings discharged into the harbor, are fishery products safe?

A. The Nuclear Regulattion Authority and TEPCO are implementing monitoring of the seawater and marine soil in the waters and offshore areas near the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power staion. Immediately after the accident, radioactive substances released from the station were detected in the seawater around the nuclear power plant. Afterwards, however, the concentration of these radioactive materials rapidly decreased due to diffusion and dilution, nearly down to the levels before the accident in the offshore areas from Fukushima Prefecture to Ibaraki Prefecture as of December 2014.

 

The discharge of groundwater pumped from sub-drains into the harbor started in September 14, 2015; however, drainage standards have been set and are being applied as conditions for discharge into the ocean—1 Bq/L or less for cesium-134 and 137 each, 3Bq/L or less for total betas, and 1500 Bq/L or less for tritium. Since the water discharged into the harbor is diluted by seawater, in the results of seawater monitoring implemented by TEPCO and the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the concentration of radioactive substances in seawater is less than the detection limits. Although concentrations of radioactive substances that are higher than usual have been detected from marine soil, this does not necessarily mean that radioactive substances have been detected in fishes living in that water area in concentrations that exceed the standard limit. One of the reasons for this is that radioactive cesium is adsorbed strongly by the clay in marine soil, and it has been made clear in past research that radioactive cesium that is adsorbed by clay is difficult to be taken up by the bodies of living organisms.

 

According to the results of monitoring of marine fishery products that has been conducted across Japan up until now, in the period of April to June in 2011, which was immediately after the nuclear disaster, 21% of monitored products exceeded 100 Bq/kg, which is the current standard limit. However, after April 2015, specimens exceeding the standard limit have not been found (as of January 2017), and after the third quarter of 2016, the concentration in 90% of the specimen of marine fishery products was lower than the limit of detection. Looking at individual fish species, for migratory species, including skipjack/tuna, salmon, and Pacific saury, none have been found to exceed the standard limit up until now. For fishes that live on the surface, including whitebait (juvenile Japanese anchovy) and lancefish (juvenile sand lance), in which high concentrations were detected immediately after the accident, no samples exceeding the standard limit have been found since the fall of 2011, with the exception of one specimen of halfbeak caught off the shore of Fukushima Prefecture in February 2013. Invertebrates, including mollusks, squids/octopuses and crustaceans, and seaweeds such as wakame and laver that exceed the standard limit have currently never been found.

 

Close monitoring will be continued by observing trends in order to identify the effects on fishery products.

 

(Reference)

Research for radioactive materials on fishery products(Summary) (Japanese only)

Monitoring results of sea area (sea water, at sea, under sea, and marine soil)

Dstribution map of radioactivity concentration in the seawater,at sea, and marine soil around TEPCO Fukushima Dai-ichi
NPP by TEPCO

Simulation of radioactivity concentration in the sea area by MEXT (Japaneses only)

Q 5. Do radioactive materials in seawater concentrate and/or accumulate in fish bodies through water and the food chain?

A.Radioactive cesium in seawater and freshwater (environmental waters) and feed is absorbed into the bodies of fish, similar to other minerals such as potassium, and is gradually excreted from fish afterwards.

 

Previous studies show that radioactive cesium in marine fish can become concentrated approximately 5-100 times the concentration of radioactive cesium in seawater due to fish species (including effects from the food chain). Thus, the radioactive cesium concentration in fish may become higher temporarily, due to the concentration of radioactive cesium in seawater, and the intake and excretion ability of fish.  

 

On the other hand, radioactive cesium is excreted from the bodies of marine fish together with other minerals, since their bodies function to excrete the absorbed minerals promptly. It has been said that about half of the radioactive cesium in a fish is excreted in 50 days if the fish is living in the environment where radioactive cesium does not exist, and it is also known that if the concentration of radioactive cesium in seawater decreases, the concentration of radioactive cesium in a fish’s body also decreases gradually.

 

However, even though more than 5 years have already passed since the accident, radioactive cesium in relatively high concentrations, although still below the standard limit (100 Bq/kg), has been detected in some fish species such as bottom fish. Although it is assumed that the speed at which the concentration of radioactive cesium decreases has slowed down because fish continue to take in radioactive cesium from the environment (e.g. food organisms), the concentration of radioactive cesium in such fish, including those that have taken in radioactive cesium immediately after the earthquake, is decreasing with certainty.

 

As for freshwater fish, it takes a longer time to excrete radioactive cesium as compared with marine fish because freshwater fish have a biological function to retain minerals in its body. However, it is evident that similar to marine fish, when the concentration of radioactive cesium in the environment decrease, the concentration of radioactive cesium in the body of freshwater fish decreases as well.

 

As factors that make the concentration of radioactive cesium in freshwater fish fluctuate, ecological conditions such as feeding habits in the presence of radioactive cesium, and environmental conditions such as water temperature and water quality are thought to contribute greatly. To investigate these causes in detail, in addition to research on radioactive cesium in fishery products, investigative studies on samples such as of environmental water are being continued.

 

With regard to the concentration of radioactive substances in fishery products, there have been none found that exceed the standard limit since April 2015 in marine products (as of January 2017), and 90% of the results have been lower than the limit of detection (as of the third quarter of FY2016). Concentrations that exceed the standard limit have decreased every year in inland waters, with only 14 specimens with such concentrations being found in Japan in FY2015.

 

(Refernce)

Radioactive materials and fish(PDF:287KB)   

Results of the monitoring on radioactivity levels in rivers and lakes

Results of the monitoring on radioactivity level in fisheries products

Q 6. Are radioactive materials deposited on the seabed absorbed into bodies of demersal fish that live near the bottom of the sea, such as flounders?

 

A. Radioactive cesium that was released into the atmosphere by a hydrogen explosion, etc. and fell in the ocean, or that entered directly into the ocean from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power staion moved to the sea bed while being diffused and diluted by a large amounts of seawater. As a result, radioactive cesium is still detected from marine soil in water areas near the nuclear power plant.

 

However, even if a higher concentration than usual levels of radioactive cesium is detected from marine soil or mud from river bottoms, this does not necessarily mean that the concentration of radioactive cesium in fish, etc. living in the area becomes higher. One of the reasons is that when cesium is strongly adsorbed by the clay in the sediment, it is difficult to be transferred into the bodies of living organisms.

 

On the other hand, some cesium that is not adsorbed by clay is more easily absorbed into the bodies of living organisms as compared to cesium that is adsorbed by clay. Thus, although it was thought that there is a possibility of the radioactive cesium not adsorbed by clay increasing in bottom fish, in recent investigations, it has been found that the majority of radioactive cesium in marine soil is of a form where it cannot be used by living organisms, as it is adsorbed by clay, etc.

 

Broad monitoring of radioactive substances will continue to be implemented, including in fish such as flounders that live near the ocean bottom.

 

In addition, the results of monitoring of the concentration of radioactive substances contained in seawater at the bottom layer, marine soil, and mud at river bottoms implemented by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, Ministry of the Environment, and TEPCO will continue to be closely observed.

Q 7. What kind of actions will be taken if radioactive materials exceeding the standard limit are detected in fishery products?  

 

A. If radioactive cesium exceeding the standard limit is detected in one sample from fishery product, the relevant prefectural governments request the relevant fisheries and other organizations to not distribute that fish species , or to not catch such fish species. To date, fishermen have carried out self-restraint in compliance with these requests. In addition, if an expansion of contamination is observed, such as the same fish species in multiple locations off the coast of a prefecture having concentrations that exceed the standard limit, the Director General of the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters (Prime Minister) issues an instruction ordering for distribution restrictions to the governments of the relevant prefectures.

 

To supply safe fishery products to consumers, monitoring surveys will continue to be implemented in the future. In addition, the Fisheries Agency will continue to cooperate closely with relevant prefectural governments, etc. to strengthen monitoring. After the nuclear power plant accident, coastal fisheries and trawl fisheries have placed self-imposed restraint on all operations off the shore of Fukushima Prefecture, and do not distribute anything other than those caught in trial fishing (*) targeting 94 species for which safety had been confirmed. Other fishery products that are sampled in Fukushima Prefecture are used for conducting radioactive substance monitoring, and are not distributed to the market.

 

*Starting in March 2011, self-imposed restraint was implemented by coastal fisheries and trawl fisheries on all operations off the cost of Fukushima Prefecture. From June to August 2012, trial fishing were carried out off the shores of Fukushima Prefecture through trawl fisheries and octopus pot fishery targeting North Pacific giant octopus, chestnut octopus and whelk (Buccinum isaotakii), which had been below the standard limit in a stable manner as based on the results of radioactive substance monitoring of fishery products. The three species were boiled and sold on a trial basis. Afterwards, fishing methods, fish species, and fishing grounds have been expanded, and as of November 30, 2016, trial fishing and sales targeting the following 94 species have been carried out.


Fishes (68 species)


Fat greenling, Greeneyes, Red barracuda, Flathead flounder, Red tongue sole, Rosy seabass, Matsubara`s red rock fish, Ishikawa icefish, Black scraper, Brown hakeling, Striped jewfish, Dory, Skipjack tuna, Redwing searobin, Greater amberjack, Monkfish, Thornhead, Bluefin tuna, Sea raven, Japanese sandlance, Southern mackerel, Ocellate spot skate, Finepatterned puffer, Poacher, Roughscale sole, Halfbeak, Japanese Spanish mackerel, Mahi-mahi, Vermiculated puffer, Japanese icefish, Whitebait, Drum, Chum salmon, Alaska pollock, Sohachi flounder, Hairtail, Crimson sea bream, Tiger puffer, Long shanny, Flounder, Nibe croaker, Slime flounder, Panther puffer, Yellowtail amberjack, Olive flounder, Blackfin flounder, Japanese amberjack, Gurnard, Spotted halibut, Starspotted smooth-hound, Japanese jack mackerel, Conger eel, Japanese sardine, Littlemouth flounder, Marbled flounder, Flathead, Chub mackerel, Red seabream, Pacific cod, Barfin flounder, John Dory, Globefish, Rikuzen flounder, Shotted halibut, Ridged-eye flounder, Pacific barrelfish, Willowy flounder, and Hilgendorf' saucord

 

Crustaceans (8 species)

Swimming crab, Horsehair crab, Snow crab, Higoromo Shrimp, Sand crab, Red snow crab, Botan shrimp, and Alaskan pink shrimp

 

Squids and octopuses (7 species)

Swordtip squid, Japanese dwarf squid, Japanese flying squid, Common octopus, Giant Pacific octopus, Chestnut octopus, and Spear squid

 

Shellfish (9 species)

Japanese littleneck clam, Abalone, Double sculptured neptune, Japanese whelk, Whelk(Neptunea constrica, Beringius polynematicus, N arthritica), Surf clam, and Paper whelk

 

Other (2 species)

Sea cucumber, Northern sea urchin

 

During trial fishing and sales, a screening test of radioactive substances using sampling is implemented in a state where the fish is fresh (if inspecting a processed product, the fresh state and state after it is processed), and products are sold after confirming that the results are 50 Bq/kg or less, which is the self-imposed distribution standard limit for radioactive substances.

 

The state of expansion of fish species/fishing grounds for trial fishing and sales, and the results of screening test implemented for trial fishing and sales are published as required on the homepage of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Association.

 

(Reference)

Website of Fukushima fisheries association. (Japanese only)

Q 8. How is the safety of migratory species such as skipjack tuna, mackerels and Pacific saury ensured?

A. Monitoring results show that fish such as skipjack tuna, mackerel and Pacific saury that migrate broadly, including around the offshore areas of Fukushima Prefecture have never exceeded the standard limit up until now. Monitoring of such migratory fish has been conducted under cooperation with relevant prefectural governments and relevant fisheries organizations at main landing ports on a weekly basis, taking into account the state of migration. Analytical results of such monitoring are published on the Fisheries Agency’s Web site in a prompt manner.

If, for example, radioactive cesium exceeding the standard limit is detected in a migratory species, relevant prefectural governments will request fisheries organizations, etc. not to distribute a certain fish species with a concentration exceeding the standard limit and caught in the area in which radioactive substances were detected, or not to catch such fish species in nearby waters. In addition, the Fisheries Agency promptly contacts the coastal prefectures located along the sea areas where such species is expected to migrate regarding monitoring results as well as the contents of requests for fishermen, thus strengthening monitoring of the species.

 

The Fisheries Agency will continue to closely cooperate with relevant prefectural governments and industry organizations in order to continue monitoring.

 

(Reference)

Results of the monitoring on radioactivity level in fisheries products

Q 9.What kinds of measures are taken to ensure the safety of fishery products sold as food products?

A. To supply safe fishery products to consumers, relevant prefectural governments are cooperating with relevant ministries, prefectural governments, industry organizations, etc. to conduct monitoring of radioactive substances in fishery products which have exceeded 50 Bq/kg in the past year as well as major marine fish species in relevant prefectures on a weekly basis, in accordance with “Concepts of Inspection Planning and the Establishment and Cancellation of Items and Areas to which Restriction of Distribution and/or Consumption of Foods concerned Applies (revised on March 25, 2016)” established by the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters (Director General: Prime Minister). If a value close to the standard limit is detected, monitoring will be strengthened on the applicable fishery product.

 

If radioactive cesium close to or exceeding the standard limit is detected based on the results of monitoring surveys, fishermen carry out self-imposed restriction of distribution and operations, and prefectural governments request relevant fisheries and other organizations to conduct self-imposed  control of distribution and operations. In addition, if an expansion of contamination is observed, such as the same fish species in multiple locations off the coast of a prefecture having concentrations that exceed the standard limit, the Director General of the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters (Prime Minister) issues an instruction ordering for distribution restrictions. For example, in some prefectures including Miyagi and Ibaraki Prefectures, fishermen have stopped fishing and shipping fishery products that have exceeded or may exceed the standard limit in accordance with requests from the prefectural government. In addition, the Director General of the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters (Prime Minister) has instructed the prefectural governor on distribution restrictions in relation to fishery products that have exceeded the standard limit.

 

As for the areas off the shore of Fukushima Prefecture, since the nuclear power station accident, all coastal fisheries and trawl fisheries placed self-imposed restriction on all operations. Fishery products other than those caught in trial fishing (*) targeting 94 species for which safety has been confirmed are not distributed. Other fishery products that are sampled in Fukushima Prefecture are used for conducting radioactive substance monitoring. However, skipjack tuna and Pacific saury, on the other hand, often migrate to the water areas that are far from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and where there is thought to be little impact from radioactive substances. Also, since it has been confirmed through actual sampling surveys that the impact of radioactive substances on these fish is small, fisheries for these fish are carried out in the Pacific Ocean, including off the shore of Fukushima Prefecture, and the fish are unloaded at ports in Fukushima Prefecture.

 

Measures, including a distribution restriction order, have been introduced in relation to the rivers and lakes where radioactive cesium has been detected exceeding the standard limit. Such information is published on the Web sites of the national and prefectural governments.

 

*Starting in March 2011, self-imposed restriction was implemented by coastal fisheries and trawl fisheries on all operations off the cost of Fukushima Prefecture. From June to August 2012, trial fishing were carried out off the shores of Fukushima Prefecture through trawl fisheries and octopus pot fishery targeting North Pacific giant octopus, chestnut octopus and whelk (Buccinum isaotakii), which had been below the standard limit in a stable manner as based on the results of radioactive substance monitoring of fishery products. The three species were boiled and sold on a trial basis. Afterwards, fishing methods, fish species, and fishing grounds have been expanded, and as of November 30, 2016, trial fishing and sales targeting the following 94 species have been carried out.

 

Fishes (68 species)

Fat greenling, Greeneyes, Red barracuda, Flathead flounder, Red tongue sole, Rosy seabass, Matsubara`s red rock fish, Ishikawa icefish, Black scraper, Brown hakeling, Striped jewfish, Dory, Skipjack tuna, Redwing searobin, Greater amberjack, Monkfish, Thornhead, Bluefin tuna, Sea raven, Japanese sandlance, Southern mackerel, Ocellate spot skate, Finepatterned puffer, Poacher, Roughscale sole, Halfbeak, Japanese Spanish mackerel, Mahi-mahi, Vermiculated puffer, Japanese icefish, Whitebait, Drum, Chum salmon, Alaska pollock, Sohachi flounder, Hairtail, Crimson sea bream, Tiger puffer, Long shanny, Flounder, Nibe croaker, Slime flounder, Panther puffer, Yellowtail amberjack, Olive flounder, Blackfin flounder, Japanese amberjack, Gurnard, Spotted halibut, Starspotted smooth-hound, Japanese jack mackerel, Conger eel, Japanese sardine, Littlemouth flounder, Marbled flounder, Flathead, Chub mackerel, Red seabream, Pacific cod, Barfin flounder, John Dory, Globefish, Rikuzen flounder, Shotted halibut, Ridged-eye flounder, Pacific barrelfish, Willowy flounder, and Hilgendorf' saucord

 

Crustaceans (8 species)

Swimming crab, Horsehair crab, Snow crab, Higoromo Shrimp, Sand crab, Red snow crab, Botan shrimp, and Alaskan pink shrimp

 

 

Squids and octopuses (7 species)

Swordtip squid, Japanese dwarf squid, Japanese flying squid, Common octopus, Giant Pacific octopus, Chestnut octopus, and Spear squid

 

Shellfish (9 species)

Japanese littleneck clam, Abalone, Double sculptured neptune, Japanese whelk, Whelks (Neptunea constrica, Beringus polynematicus, N arthritica), Surf clam, and Paper whelk

 

Other (2 species)

Sea cucumber, Northern sea urchin

 

 

 

 

 During trial fishing  and sales, a screening test of radioactive substances using sampling is implemented in a state where the fish is fresh (if inspecting a processed product, the fresh state and state after it is processed), and products are sold after confirming that the results are 50 Bq/kg or less, which is the self-imposed distribution standard limit for radioactive substances.

 

The state of expansion of fish species/fishing grounds for trial fishing and sales, and the results of screening test implemented for test operations and sales are published on the homepage of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Association.

 

(Reference)

Website of Fukushima fisheries association.(Japanese only)

The current state of distribution restriction and voluntary fishery suspension(Japanese only

Food label for fishery products harvested in the Pacific Ocean off the east Japan(Japanese only)

Results of the monitoring on radioactivity level in fisheries products

Report on the Monitoring of Radionuclides in Fishery Products (Summary)

Report on the Monitoring of Radionuclides in Fishery Products (Full report)

Q 10. How the safety of fish which I caught could be confirmed? 

A. If you are uncertain about the safety of the fish caught by yourself, please check the monitoring results of the same species or species living in the same area, published on the prefectural governments’ and/or the Fisheries Agency’s websites. If the area you caught the fish is close to the area where radioactive materials exceeding the standard have been detected, distribution is restricted and/or fishery targeting such species is suspended, please consult with relevant prefectural governments.

 

To supply safe fishery products to consumers, prefectural governments, with close cooperation with relevant ministries, prefectural governments and industries, have conducted monitoring of fishery products which have exceeded 50 Bq/kg in the past and major marine fish species in each prefectures on a weekly basis, in accordance with the relevant policies, including the “Concepts of Inspection Planning and the Establishment and Cancellation of Items and Areas to which Restriction of Distribution and/or Consumption of Foods concerned Applies (revised on March 25th, 2016)” established by the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters (Director General : Prime Minister). If monitoring value is close to the standard, monitoring will strengthen on the fishery products. The results have been published on the prefectural governments’ and/or Fisheries Agency’s websites.

 

(Reference)

Results of the monitoring on radioactivity level in fisheries products

Q11. How does the standard apply to dried seaweed and fish?  How about dried food products, such as dried wakame seaweed and hiziki seaweed, which are normally  consumed after being brought back to their original condition by soaking in water? 

A. Dried food products which are consumed as they are, such as dried laver, dried sardine and dried squid, the standard applies for both before and after processing, that is, as raw materials and as dried products. 

    On the other hand, as for dried food products which are normally consumed after being brought back to their original condition by soaking in water, such as Konbu seaweed, dried wakame seaweed, dried hiziki seaweed, dried cod and dried sea cucumber, the standard applies for both before processing and after being brought back to their original condition.

Q12. What is the labeling rule on production area of fishery products caught in the Pacific Ocean off eastern Japan?

A. In response to the growing interests of consumers in labeling of fishery products on production area, the Fisheries Agency issued the notice on 5th October 2011 to industries and prefectural governments about promotion of production area labeling which puts more focus on clarification of the name of the production area with finer scale classification. 

     Finer scale classifications for migratory spices are as follows:

     1 “北海道・青森県沖太平洋” (Offshore of Hokkaido and Aomori. “北海道青森沖太平洋” or ”北海道青森太平洋” is also acceptable.)

     2 “三陸北部沖” (Offshore of Northern Sanriku)

     3 “三陸南部沖” (Offshore of Southern Sanriku)

     4 “福島県沖” (Offshore of Fukushima)

     5 “日立・鹿島沖” (Offshore of Hitachi and Kashima)

     6 “房総沖” (Offshore of Boso Peninsula)

     7 “日本太平洋沖合北部” (Northern Pacific off Japan. “日本太平洋沖北部” is also acceptable.

 

(Reference)

Food label for fishery products harvested in the Pacific Ocean off the east Japan (apanese only)

Q&A on food and radioactivity(by Consumer Affairs Agency, Government Of Japan (Japanese only) 

Q13. What is the current situation of import restriction on Japanese fishery products?

A. Immediately after the earthquake, many countries introduced import ban to Japanese fishery products. Although some countries including China and Russia have introduced import ban to fisheries products originated from part of Japan, other countries allow import from Japan subject to observance of the standard or confirmation of origin. In addition, several countries, such as Canada and New Zealand, do not introduce any import restriction.

    The Fisheries Agency has informed government officials and consumers in foreign countries about Japan’s effort to supply safe fishery products. Through the ap proaches, the Fisheries Agency has continuously requested import countries to lift or relax the imposed import restriction.

(Reference)

The current state of import restriction on fisheries products(Japanese only)

Q 14. Is it true that even today, water that has been contaminated by radioactive substances continues to flow into the ocean from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station? If, hypothetically speaking, contaminated water is flowing into the ocean, why is the concentration of radioactive substances in fish decreasing?

A. With regard to contaminated water processing, measures based on the 3 basic policies of (1) eliminating sources of pollution, (2) not allowing sources of pollution to come near water, and (3) “not allowing contaminated water to leak” are being promoted.

 

In October 2015, the water insulation wall on the seaward side was closed at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, preventing groundwater from flowing out to the ocean from within the power station. Based on the results of measuring the water level of and radioactive substances in the groundwater drain that was installed on the landward side of the water insulation wall, it can be considered that the effects of the water insulating wall on the seaward side are being exhibited. In addition, groundwater that has flowed into the reactor building is cleaned and stored and managed in tanks.

 

As such measures against contaminated water have progressed, in recent years, the concentration of radioactive cesium in seawater in the areas surrounding the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are nearly at the same level as before the accident.

 

With regard to the concentration of radioactive substances in fishery products, after April 2015, there have been no marine fishery product with concentrations that exceed the standard limit (as of January 2017), and the concentration in 90% of the products was lower than the limit of detection. For absorption of radioactive cesium into fish, both the routes of directly being absorbed from seawater and of being absorbed through the food chain can be considered. After the nuclear power station accident, due to a reduction in the concentration of radioactive cesium in seawater, both the intake of radioactive cesium from seawater and intake from food organisms have become low as compared to immediately after the earthquake. Thus, it can be considered that at present, radioactive cesium has become less detectable in fish of the sea.

 

(Reference)

Measures and Requests in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake

Major Initiatives for Water Management

Results of the monitoring on radioactivity level in fisheries products

お問合せ先

Contact Us
For more information
 About radioactive materials:
  Research and Technological Guidance Division,
  Fisheries Agency of Japan
  +81-3-6744-2030

 About distribution of fishery products:
  Fisheries Processing Industries and Marketing Division,
  Fisheries Agency of Japan
  +81-3-3591-5613

 About safety of fishery products:
  Fish and Fishery Products Safety Office,
Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau,
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
+81-3-6744-2105