Japanese farmers are suffering yet another blow. Not only are they still reeling from the earthquake and ensuing tsunami, some of the produce growing around the radiation-leaking Fukushima nuclear plant have been contaminated.
Japanese farmers in some of the quake-stricken areas are facing serious, financial aftershocks.
They are seeing their farm products being returned or dumped, after higher-than-standard levels of radiation were detected in spinach and raw milk from areas around the radiation-leaking Fukushima nuclear plant.
At a Tokyo product market, wholesalers are anxious about a government ban on vegetables.
On Monday, Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan ordered four prefectures near the plant to stop shipping spinach and other green leaf vegetables.
"The government says they're not harmful to human health, but customers will definitely refrain from buying these products," said Shouji Futabaya, a vegetable retailer.
In Ibaraki prefecture alone, where the contaminated spinach samples were found, farmers have already lost an equivalent of more than $10 million after the devastating earthquake and tsunami destroyed their farmlands and livestock.
And high radiation levels found in their farm products are yet another blow.
"These are spinach from Ibaraki which were banned by the government yesterday. They were sold before the ban, but have been returned to us anyway, and we haven't found new buyers yet," said Hiroshi Fujita, Managing Director of Tokyo City Seika Food Wholesale Company.
On Tuesday, Japan's top government spokesman reiterated the radiation levels detected were not harmful.
But the World Health Organization said this week the radiation impact was more serious than first thought, when it was expected to be limited to 20-30km from the plant.
(CNTV.cn March 22, 2011)