Tuesday, April 3, 2012

U.N. Program to Ship Contaminated Fish from Japan to Developing Countries


Another "win" for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who operates the ODA (Official Development Assistance). They have managed to obtain support from the United Nations on this one.

I first wrote about this particular ODA in June last year, with the follow-up post in September when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formally requested the appropriation for the 3rd supplementary budget.

Now it's official, with the help of the UN. Canned fish from Tohoku will be given to people in developing countries in the world so that the fisheries in the disaster-affected areas can recover and "baseless rumors" disappear.

The fish cans will go to Cambodia and 4 other countries and will be used in school lunches to feed school children.

From Sankei Shinbun (3/30/2012):
食料支援で風評被害解消 被災地の缶詰を途上国に

Food aid to dispel baseless rumors, by sending canned food made in disaster-affected areas to developing countries


The Japanese government exchange letters with the UN WFP (World Food Programme) regarding the ODA (Official Development Assistance) so that people in developing countries will be able to eat processed marine products made in the areas affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The purpose is to promote [the recovery of] fisheries industry in the disaster-affected areas and to dispel baseless rumors [that food in Japan is contaminated with radioactive materials].

政府が平成23年度第3次補正予算に計上した10億円を元手に、WFPが青森、岩手、茨城、千葉の4県の水産加 工場で製造されたイワシやサバなどの水煮の缶詰を調達。カンボジアなど5カ国で学校給食などに役立ててもらう。加藤敏幸外務政務官は書簡交換の式典で、 「甚大な被害を受けた被災地の水産加工企業は、操業の全面再開に向け努力している」と強調した。

The Japanese government allocated 1 billion yen in the fiscal 2011 3rd supplementary budget. Using this money, WFP will purchase cans of boiled sardines and mackerels made in factories in Aomori, Iwate, Ibaraki, and Chiba Prefectures. The cans will be shipped to 5 countries including Cambodia for the use in school lunches. Toshiyuki Kato, parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [No.3 politician at the ministry] emphasized in the letter exchanging ceremony, "The marine product processing companies in the disaster-affected areas have sustained grave damage, and they are doing their best to resume full operation."


There are a few citizens' groups who oppose this particular ODA program as they are worried about the effect of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The top officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explain that the radiation measurement will be conducted, and only those products without any worry of safety will be exported so that the baseless rumors that still persist overseas are dispelled.
When the Japanese government officials say "without any worry of safety", their safety equals 100 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium starting April 1, 2012.

I couldn't find any press release on this, and no information as to other 4 countries receiving the canned fish from Japan.

Here's from the feedback page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You can contact them by mail or by phone, or you can contact the embassies and consulates around the world.

The UN's WFP contact information is here: http://www.wfp.org/contact

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