Japan’s Damaged Rice Culture

The March 11, 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan have wrought havoc on the long-term prospects for the country’s storied rice industry. let alone doing short-term damage, according to a report by the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute.

The Great East Japan Earthquake, as it is known, is believed to have been the most powerful ever to have hit Japan, triggering a devastating tsunami that generated 40-meter waves, washing deep inland and causing meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Complex. Some 15,844 people were confirmed dead and 3,394 people have been listed as missing.

Although the disaster spurred evacuation of farmland in a 30-km radius around the nuclear plant, consumer confidence in domestic rice has fallen in a much larger area and cut into a system in which the country has heretofore been able to maintain the permanent sovereignty of its international agricultural trade policies and agreements, with high tariffs keeping Japanese farmers self-sustaining, according to the report.

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