Japan Lifts Ban on Beef Shipments From Nuclear Disaster Area

Despite continuing fears over the safety of food from the area of the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan has lifted a ban on beef shipments from there that it had imposed just a month ago, when meat contaminated with radioactive material was found to have reached Japanese supermarkets.

The decision to lift the ban underscores the difficulty faced by the government. Officials are eager to minimize the harm to farmers from the Fukushima area and to bring the local economy back to normal, but they are also trying to repair the damage to their credibility from the handling of the nuclear disaster.

The discovery of radioactive cesium in a number of products last month has greatly undermined public trust in the safety of produce from the region, even if, as the government says, the amount that was found was tiny.

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Japan to burn its radiation-tainted beef

Japan announced a plan Tuesday under which beef tainted with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster will be bought up and burnt, in a move aimed at restoring consumer confidence.

Almost 3,000 cattle whose meat is feared to be contaminated with radioactive caesium have been shipped nationwide after being fed straw exposed to fallout during the more than four month old nuclear crisis.

Agriculture minister Michihiko Kano said the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), would ultimately have to pick up the bill, which media reports said may come to two billion yen ($25 million).

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