IITATE, Fukushima -- Farmers began tests on having their cattle graze here on May 23 for the first time since the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The national government lifted the nuclear evacuation order in most parts of the village at the end of March 2017.
While about 220 farmers bred beef cattle before the nuclear disaster, just five farmers restarted their breeding after the ban was lifted. The test will last over three months, and the farmers will check the level of radiation in the cattle's blood and conduct other checks with the aim to return to regular grazing in 2019 or later.
Farmer Takeshi Yamada, 69, who had six of his beef cows graze on the green grass, commented, "Grazing is less stressful than breeding in barns. It makes it possible to produce fresh beef." Yamada will strive to revive the local "Iitate Beef Cattle" brand.
(Japanese original by Rikka Teramachi, Fukushima Bureau)