The Japanese fast food chain Yoshinoya has announced that it is to grow rice and vegetables in Shirakawa, just 80 kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was crippled by the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Yoshinoya is a popular Japanese fast food chain, which owns a major chain of ‘gyudon’, or ‘beef bowl’ restaurants across the nation. The company’s operator, Yoshinoya Holdings, is to launch a joint agricultural project with local farmers, called Yoshinoya Farm Fukushima, in which rice, onions and cabbages will be cultivated across a 4.3 hectare field, for use in Yoshinoya’s 1000-strong chain of gyudon establishments.
Whislt many Yoshinoya customers have expressed concern at the crop farm’s proximity to the nuclear plant and the potential danger of radiation exposure, the fast food chain was keen to highlight their plans to routinely and stringently screen and monitor the crops for radiation.
In a statement, a Yoshinoya representative said: “We believe this will lead to support for reconstruction.” The chain also hopes that the creation of a more local agricultural site would lead to a lowering of ingredients prices, and thus prices within the gyudon restaurants themselves.
The March 2011 tsunami and consequent nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant led to crop prices plummeting not only within the direct radiation zone, but across the entirety of the Fukushima prefecture, despite having been formerly famed for its agricultural produce. Ventures such as Yoshinoya Farm Fukushima are an endeavour to repair the prefecture’s damaged reputation.
Despite these actions, however, many consumers continue to avoid produce carrying the Fukushima tag, amidst continuing fears of radiation exposure.
Sources include: Japan Today, The Telegraph
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