Thursday, August 11, 2011

Radiation rice hits Japanese psyche

Reports that local governments in Japan will be tested to find radiocaesium rice fell like a blow to the country's collective psyche to the possibility of their revered their support from the long list of forbidden foods. The announcement of the analysis last week came amid fears of the population there is radiation in food after the worst nuclear crisis in the world in 25 years at the plant in Fukushima, having found excessive levels of radiation in meat beef, vegetables, tea, milk, shellfish and water.

But Rice, insist most of the Japanese is different. "After the earthquake there was a widespread feeling among people that you can settle for the substitutes," said Ikeda Shigenobu, food security expert at the School of Environmental Sciences, Agriculture and Food at the University of Miyagi.

"I do not have to be a curry of beef, can be pork, or chicken, or beef from another country. It is not the same with the rice," he added. It is believed that rice production in Japan began in 300 BC, according to experts, and traditions associated with their culture are an indispensable part of Japanese culture even today.

"Rice production fueled the spirit of 'yui' (union), which has survived to the modern era," said Yoshihito Umezaki, former president of the Japan Fisheries Association of Journalists. "We saw that was revived after the earthquake," he added. The close ties between Japan and rice are symbolized by the ratio of the Imperial Family with the grain, with references to the emperor by offering the latest crop to the gods in the "Kojiki" dating from the eighth century and is one of the historical documents oldest in the country.

Despite the tradition, the rice consumption has fallen steadily, partly because young people choose fast food busy and often eat out, although the older generations are still focused on traditional meals a bowl of rice and multiple side dishes. In 1965, the average rice consumed per person was 112 kilos a year, but that figure has fallen 45 percent in 2005 to 61 kilos per year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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