, Salem, MA

The World

March 24, 2011

Japan's fishermen fear spread of radiation scare


At the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, which ships Kesennuma's catch to ports across the globe, wholesalers say that overseas orders have been slashed and prices on some fresh fish have fallen by half due to radioactivity concerns.

In recent days, the market's sushi bars, which usually are packed with tourists who wait more than two hours for service, are now half-empty.

At one export stall, exporter Yasuhiro Yamazaki had a cellphone pressed to his ear as he fielded calls from customers in the U.S., Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia. They all wanted to know the same thing: Are Japan's fish contaminated?

Said Yamazaki: "We are up against an invisible enemy."

The growing concerns could cause his company, one of the nation's largest exporters, to lose $10 million, roughly 20 percent of his annual revenues.

It's not clear how much seepage of radioactive isotopes has flowed into the sea at Fukushima through sources ranging from windblown smoke settling atop the water to possibly tens of thousands of gallons of water that has been pumped into the stricken reactors or dumped from above by helicopter. Water pumped into the reactors to cool the rods is usually protected from contamination by a zirconium casing; but casings have melted when reactors overheated, exposing any water moving past to high levels of radiation.

Some fishing industry officials here say they have been told by experts that radioactive particles that drifted out over the ocean have fallen into the water and could be absorbed into the local food chain.

As workers seek to repair the nuclear plant, the impact of radioactivity on comestibles produced here is intensifying. Officials have now urged consumers not to eat a dozen types of vegetables from Fukushima prefecture after traces of the radioactive isotopes iodine-131 and cesium-137 were found in the region. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the import of milk, fresh fruit and vegetables from four areas near the nuclear plant.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The World

AP Video
Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Today in History for July 25th Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot