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Fukushima farmers see need to better publicize food safety

Vegetables produced in Fukushima Prefecture are withdrawn from the shelves of a supermarket in the city of Fukushima on March 23, 2011. (Kyodo)

FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Farmers and fishermen in Fukushima called for further efforts to convince the public that their food is safe to eat on Sunday after Taiwan decided to maintain its import ban on Japanese food from areas affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster.

    Taiwan's public voted in a referendum Saturday to maintain the ban on agricultural products and other food from Fukushima and four other prefectures.

    "All we can do is to work harder until people understand that our products are safe," said Masao Koizumi, a rice farmer in Fukushima.

    The prefectural government of Fukushima has been conducting radiation checks on all rice produced in the prefecture. Since 2015, all shipments cleared the screening, with radioactive cesium levels below the 100-becquerel-per-kilogram limit set by the central government.

    "When people see the inspection readings, they will know that there is no threat of radioactive materials," Koizumi said.

    Tetsu Nozaki, the head of an association representing fishery cooperatives in the prefecture, said, "We are disappointed, but we just need to make sure that we keep communicating the safety of our products."

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