Japan restricts green tea over radiation fears

TOKYO – JAPAN banned the shipment of green tea leaves grown in four prefectures around Tokyo on Thursday after radioactive caesium above legal levels was found in samples, a media report said.

It was the latest produce shipment ban since the massive March 11 seabed quake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo, which has since leaked radiation into the ground, air and sea.

The ban covers tea leaves from parts of the Tochigi, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures and all of Ibaraki prefecture, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said, Kyodo News agency reported.

Kanagawa, southwest of Tokyo, said in early May it had detected radiation above the legal limit in tea grown there and blamed it on the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, which suffered partial meltdowns.

Kanagawa prefecture then started a recall of the tea after measuring about 570 becquerels of caesium per kg in leaves grown in the city of Minamiashigara. The legal limit is 500 Bq/kg.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant is located some 220km north-east of Tokyo and 280km from Minamiashigara. — AFP

Japan restricts green tea over radiation fears

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