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» Fukushima spending 1.7 billion yen for removing rumors about radiation

Fukushima Prefecture is spending about 1.7 billion yen ($16.6 million) this fiscal year to fight rumors about radiation that have led to plummeting prices and sales of farm products.

The budget is a fourfold increase over the previous year, and the campaign is focused more on trial-and-error attempts at informing consumers of “Fukushima after the calamity” through Tokyo-area media.

Fears of radiation remain nearly three years since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Last year, prices for Fukushima agricultural produce in the Tokyo market did not return to levels seen before the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused the triple meltdown at the plant.

In 2012, the prefecture hired popular idol group Tokio for commercials to appeal its agricultural produce.

This fiscal year, it conducted a survey of before-and-after results from the commercials, primarily in the Tokyo area.

The ratio of respondents who said they “do not want to buy” Fukushima produce dropped by about 10 points from 27 percent after viewing.


The prefectural government and the local agricultural cooperative associations felt a heightened sense of crisis two years ago over price trends in Tokyo’s wholesale market.

In 2012, prices of Fukushima produce fell by more than the average in other farming areas, exemplified by a roughly 10-percent drop in cucumbers, the prefecture’s mainstay crop.

Fukushima Prefecture contracted ppc Inc., a Tokyo publicity agency, to formulate a “media exposure strategy.”

The company collects and analyzes relevant news stories from five national and four regional newspapers. It has also individually asked 40 reporters for advice on how to disseminate information.

By the efforts, there were 468 news articles about Fukushima-grown agricultural products from April to December 2013, an increase from the 380 articles during the same period the previous year. The content had also grown more positive.

“Our measures have yielded a certain amount of results,” a prefectural government official said.

Fukushima Prefecture plans to devote efforts to media-related measures next fiscal year, which will start on April 1.

In a 2013 questionnaire conducted by the Consumer Affairs Agency, more than 20 percent of respondents said they still “want to buy food products that do not contain radioactive substances.”

<Media Report>
Fukushima takes new approach to ease fears of radiation in food (Asahi Newspaper)

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