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Fukushima orchids ready for shipment ahead of election celebrations

Moth orchids are seen in the village of Katsurao, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 14, 2019, ahead of their shipment for the July 21 House of Councillors election. (Mainichi/Masahiro Ogawa)

KATSURAO, Fukushima -- Farmers here are preparing for shipments of moth orchid flowers for use in election victory celebrations and other occasions ahead of the House of Councillors election on July 21.

The entire village of Katsurao in northeastern Japan was evacuated in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster in March 2011, but the evacuation order was lifted in most parts of the village about three years ago.

Local farmers began growing moth orchids in January last year after establishing an agricultural corporation called "Katsurao Kochoran Godo Gaisha," with the aim of growing alternative products to foodstuffs, for which concerns over harmful rumors remained. The company began shipping moth orchids in the summer of 2018.

The moth orchids grown by the company were named "Hope White," in the aim that the flowers will contribute to disaster recovery for the area and bring hope to those who receive them.

This past weekend, farmers prepared about 70 pots of moth orchids for shipment to the Tokyo metropolitan area, about twice normal figures.

Commenting on the first shipment timed with the national election, company employee Hirosumi Sugishita, 38, said, "I hope this will become an opportunity for us to raise the profile of 'Hope White.'"

(Japanese original by Masahiro Ogawa, Photo Group)

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