FUKUSHIMA PRIDE – Event at the Embassy of Japan in London
On the 11th March 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami hit the North Eastern shores, swallowing up a vast area, taking many people’s lives and livelihoods. It triggered a nuclear power station accident in Fukushima to cause further devastation. It was the largest earthquake recorded in history
Seven years on, the Embassy of Japan in London hosted an event “Fukushima Pride”.
In a warm and welcoming atmosphere, chefs from Fukushima prefecture treated the guests with dishes using ingredients and Sake from the local area. It was a feast for eyes and palates alike.
Reaction to Produce of Fukushima?
Fukushima is a famous rice producing area. There are specialities such as Fukushima beef and it is known to be one of the largest producers of many varieties of fruits such as cherries, pears, peaches. The beautiful mountains, coastlines, and the historic city of Aizu Wakamatsu are what people still associate with this city.
However, overseas, the name Fukushima is deeply connected with the explosion and the subsequent radioactive substance leakage from the nuclear power plant due to the Tsunami in 2011. Considering its consequences and the worldwide media coverage, this is probably inevitable.
To remind and promote the positive aspects of the area, the produce, and the people, an event such as “Fukushima Pride” plays a very important role.
The evening was lively and friendly, with small plates of beautiful food created by chefs from Fukushima. They were so attractive that all negative opinions and images against these ingredients were wiped away.
Fukushima is also known for its abundant rice production as well as natural water suitable for brewing. There are many renowned breweries in the area. This is a great advantage for the prefecture, as the interest in Sake is growing overseas.
How is the Market Attitude in Japan?
At present, all agricultural produce from Fukushima must go through the most stringent safety tests.
In the case of rice, the entire crop from the prefecture is subject to testing for the radioactive material, Caesium. There is no chance of any crop in distribution exceeding the Japanese standard of 100 becquerels per one kilogram.
Since 2015, no rice crop has exceeded this standard, and the radioactive substance level has reduced to undetectable. This examination process is considered the most stringent in the world (CODEX, the international standard is 1000 becquerels per kg) and the rice is considered secure.
However, there are consumers who feels nervous about foodstuff from Fukushima. It is not easy to assure people of the safety and excellence of ingredients originating from Fukushima. Understanding can only spread through events like Fukushima Pride and the tireless work of many affording the opportunities to see, taste, and understand.
Overseas Appeal to Raise Domestic Awareness
Many people still live in evacuation shelters/accommodations, and there are off-limit areas due to on-going clean-up operations. It is an unavoidable reality that the area was affected by the disaster and the nuclear accident.
On the other hand, it has so much to offer, such as the food ingredients showcased at the Fukushima Pride event, the historic buildings and ryokan inns in Aizu, and its beautiful scenery.
The fact of the devastations cannot be erased. But appealing to the pride of Fukushima, getting recognition overseas and bringing success back to Japan could pave the way to the recovery at home.
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