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Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

jokemaker323
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278 posts
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Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

Hi all,

There has been a lot of discussion and emotion over the situation of food safety in Japan and I want to do whatever is possible to avoid this turning into people get annoyed with each other.

The goal of this topic is to provide good information about the situation in Japan so that people can make up their own minds. So what I would hope for most is discussion or references to articles that discuss the situation at present. For example, it is very easy to find articles sensationalizing a highly radioactive fish that will make travelers worried but the reality is the fish they refer to is straight from the reactor zone and doesn't really imply that food in general is unsafe. It is unsettling though, and it is very hard to find real information about general food safety in place like Tokyo and throughout Japan.

Do you have any sources or somewhat recent articles that discuss fish and produce safety in general consumption rather? What are Japanese citizens seeing when they test their food? What are independent tests revealing? I can't seem to find any real information about the reality on the ground. People here always say that ultimately the decision to go and what to eat is an individual decision and I totally agree but what I am hoping for is to get the best and most comprehensive information out there so that people like me can make informed decisions for themselves.

So any information about the current situation of general produce and fish is greatly appreciated. Further, any insight into how Japanese people have changed their lifestyles (if at all) in an effort to maximize safety. Are people consuming less fish? Are people drinking less tap water? Or are locals (again in anywhere outside of the obvious danger zone) living normally or taking any precautions that a visitor may also want to consider? Are all restaurants equally serving safe food or are there certain types of restaurants you would avoid?

Again, I really hope you guys don't get annoyed with me. I have decided for myself that the benefits outweigh the risks and I am definitely going to move to Japan for awhile. I can't wait. With that said, I would still feel most comfortable having as much information as I can about the reality of the situation. A lot of the articles I read don't directly address the reality of day to day life but instead just talk about the worst of the worst sides of everything. I want a more comprehensive and honest look at the situation because right now it feels like most of what I read is not giving me good and reliable information.

It's strange how much I feel like I already love Japan having never been there :) I really am excited and won't let this ruin my experience, but I sleep best at night knowing as much truth as I can.

1. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

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Removed on: 9:07 am, January 25, 2013
jokemaker323
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278 posts
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2. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

You find it appalling to get truthful information out there for possible visitors so that they can make informed decisions? Am I missing why that is so offensive?

My gut tells me that being in Japan is basically totally safe. My brain, however, tells me that while that might be the case, it would love to get some more information before feeling convinced. Why is that bad? People here keep saying it is a personal decision and you shouldn't do something just because someone on a forum says so, and I agree. So the point of this is to get more real information to make such an informed decision. If you have the confidence I am in search of, can't you just provide the information that has helped you come to that conclusion?

Edited: 6:09 am, January 25, 2013
Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

Well, some people believe Israel, Iran, Pakistan, Kashmir etc. are too dangerous to visit. They are thinking so by watching TV. But they are forgetting a considerable number of people actually live there.

Your Windows 7 is made in Israel.

jokemaker323
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278 posts
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4. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

Yes, and I have been to more than one of those places. And when I go somewhere that is possibly unsafe, I research it to find out what, if anything, I should be aware of to feel comfortable going.

That is all I am trying to do here. I want to be aware of the reality and yet all I get is snide responses like I am some kind of fool. I have no idea what local people in Tokyo and elsewhere are doing as a precaution with food safety. Maybe they have changed their lifestyles a lot. Maybe not at all. I have no idea what studies are showing on randomly tested produce in Tokyo. Maybe they show nothing, maybe they don't. The purpose of this topic was to get that information. Not to be ridiculed for seeking REAL INFORMATION.

Tokyo, Japan
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5. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

WHO on Fukushima: who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index3.html

www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index.html

Media: …asahi.com/article/…AJ201211250051

Government action:

kantei.go.jp/foreign/…measures_beef.pdf

Tap water in Fukushima: mhlw.go.jp/english/…watersupply.html

Food testing:

mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/dl/19Jul201…

mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/dl/20Jan201…

jokemaker323
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278 posts
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6. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

Exactly the type of stuff I am looking for. Thank you very very much.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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7. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

IMHO, I don't think the posters are just simply making snide remarks about your concerns.

You stated that "I have no idea what local people in Tokyo and elsewhere are doing as a precaution with food safety".

But you have been given advice repeatedly from locals residing in Japan, as well as expats and frequent travellers who have recently returned, giving you great insight as to the safety.

Yet the same concern gets posted over and over again - in numerous threads.

You have also stated that you were going to Japan no matter what, so you have already made a decision on what you know and believe.

I feel you are now at a point where you have over thought the situation and let yourself be hyped by too much information.

A similar situation occurred about MSG not long ago, thanks to one media report - yes just one, triggered a worlwide hysteria.

Whilst such concerns shouldn't be taken lightly, if there were genuine reasons to be convened about food consumption or travel, perhaps you should not bother with any further information, but decide simply not to travel there.

You pour water into a full cup, and no matter how much you keep pouring - it's still a full cup, and you won't get anymore water until you empty it.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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8. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

If the decision is made, why keep digging? You will always find conspiracy theorists, and you will always find supporters of government analysis saying it's safe. It's like surveys on anything else. Let's take coffee as an example. One day it's good for you for reason A, next day it's bad for you for reason B. You will find lobbyists and special interest groups on both sides of the fence. In other words, a lot of the information you find on the internet could be questionable regardless of the origin. You need to judge for yourself and decide instead of succumbing to paranoia and keep digging for stuff that isn't there.

If you want to talk about locals, many locals and frequent travelers (not short term visitors) have already said they haven't changed their daily routines. I don't think anyone goes looking on a package of food or a green tea bottle at a grocery store and think about radiation--with the exception of items from Fukushima perhaps. Locals don't think about onsen water being contaminated. Will the locals be proven wrong in the long run? I don't know, but if I go (and I have gone to Japan subsequent to the earthquake and tsunami), I wouldn't worry about it because I have decided that the risk is minimal. Maybe there will be new information that changes my mind in the future. You are free to make your own choice as well.

Besides, this is really a travel forum. Your question and insight might be better suited to expat forums for Japan.

London, England
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for Solo Travel
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9. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

Jokemaker323, can you really not see that people would feel a little exasperated with this sort of question?

I gather you live in America? You must know that many Europeans find the American attitude to guns and public health care uncivilised to say the least.

Would you not get a bit fed up with constant questions about "Is it safe to travel in America when there are all these people with guns in their houses and with all these people whose illnesses go untreated"?

The first couple of times you might try to explain, but after a while you would feel that if these people could not work out that lots of Americans manage to survive and live healthy lives, the visitors might be better to stay away.

I'm sure there are Japanese worried about radiation and food, just as there are Americans worried about guns and health care, but it would appear that most visitors are not at any particular risk in either place.

Most people love their country and the Japanese have much to be proud of in the way they dealt with the consequences of this natural disaster.

A travel forum may not be the best place to do this particular sort of research. That's what Google and a critical brain are for.

Edited: 4:46 pm, January 25, 2013
Kyoto, Japan
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for Kobe, Kyoto
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10. Re: Japan Food Safety -- Information Only

Again with this?! If you are actually coming to live here, I feel bad for the people who will have to reassure you on a daily basis that your food should be safe.

I worry about eating meat in the USA more when I go there on vacation because there seems to be a new disease breakout somewhere every few months or so.