11/29/2011, 00.00
JAPAN
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Fukushima: Ban on 4322 rice farms. Plant manager hospitalised

The prefecture of Fukushima yesterday banned the marketing of rice from 2381 farms, in addition to those already affected. The director of power plant is hospitalized, and will be replaced.
Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Fukushima Prefecture has decided to ban the trade of rice from 2,381 farms in Nihonmatsu and Motomiya as a result of high levels of radioactive cesium (above 500 becquerels / kg) found in the harvests in the area near the cities of Date and Fukushima. The provision, the latest in a series since the crisis at the nuclear power plant damaged by the earthquake / tsunami of 11 March, thus reinforces the ban already in place in recent days and brings to 4322 the total number of farms involved.

Meanwhile controversy surrounds yesterday announcement by Masao Yoshida (pictured), director of the Fukushima power plant that he was to be hospitalised. According to the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Yukio Edan, at a press conference Yoshida is not being hospitalised due to “exposure to radiation''. If the possibility emerges that his illness is linked to the nuclear crisis, he added, ''all the information would be disclosed immediately.'' TEPCO, the operator did not reveal the nature of the illness, and even the values related to his exposure to radiation for privacy reasons.

''It 'important not to give negative signals to the public on this staff turnover at the helm of the ailing facility'', clarified Edan, somewhat surprised at TEPCO’s statement. Yoshida, 56 years, it will be replaced December 1 by Takeshi Takahashi, 54, another official of the utility specialized in the management of nuclear power plants.
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