= Tokyo Olympics 2020: Radioactive honey from Fukushima flowers as a bigger environmental warning =

7 min readAug 14, 2021


Drone photo giving an aerial view of some of the black plastic garbage bags containing radioactive soil from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Some of the piles of bags are about five or six layers high, and cover several acres — as can be seen by the relatively small size of the adjacent trucks and heavy equipment. Image courtesy of Andreasz Podniesinski

Fukushima today: “I’m glad that I realized my mistake before I died.”
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
March 10, 2021

Washoku branding was born to address the issue of huge drop in Fukushima related exports after the 2011 nuclear disaster. By using UNESCO designation, washoku ingredients could get a big boost in interest.

Washoku as a cultural heritage

Protecting washoku not only gives Japan’s culture a boost in advance of the 2020 Olympics, but also helps to counteract the negative image of food safety after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

In the midst of the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Japanese newspapers reported the discovery of radioactive honey beyond the Japanese government set safety limit coming from Fukushima.

Radioactive chemical found in Fukushima honey: Japanese media
July 28, 2021

Caesium, a radioactive chemical, has been found in honey collected near Fukushima in an amount larger than Japan’s national health standard, raising concerns about food safety in and around the city.

The honey manufactured by a local beekeeping cooperative in the Namie township of Fukushima Prefecture contained from 130 to 160 becquerels (bq) of the chemical per kilogram, according to a July 23 report from Japan’s daily news outlet Yomiuri Shimbun. The amount exceeded the country’s national standard of 100 bq.

The radioactive chemical is believed to have originated from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, in which reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma in the prefecture were damaged by the Tohoku earthquake and the following tsunami. The accident caused three nuclear meltdowns and the release of radioactive contamination in three of the plant’s reactors. Radiation was then released into the air, and large amounts of water contaminated with radioactive isotopes were released into the Pacific Ocean.

Namie is just 12.7 kilometers north of the disaster site. Caesium from the disaster was believed to have been spread to the township through northwesterly winds.

Yomiuri Shimbun said it was the first time that caesium was found in honey from Fukushima in an amount exceeding the national health standard. The newspaper added that at least 1,400 products containing the honey have been sold at train stations and shops in the prefecture since last June. The municipality said they will recall those products, the report said.

The discovery came after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration has repeatedly assured people that food products from Fukushima are safe to eat, in order to mitigate international concerns, particularly from Korea’s national team, since before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23.

Despite the Japanese government’s efforts, some of the countries participating in the summer games decided to supply their national athletes with food cooked with ingredients from their home countries, instead of the local dishes provided by Japan’s Olympic organizers.

The Athletes’ Village in Tokyo has two dining venues. One of them reportedly uses food ingredients from Fukushima as well as Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. Having learned this, the Korean Sports and Olympic Committee rented a hotel near Athletes’ Village and sent 24 nutritionists and chefs to make meals for Korea’s athletes starting July 20.

The United States also revealed its plans to cook over 7,000 special meals for its athletes with its own food ingredients, weighing over 32 tons in total, according to local reports. However, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee did not specify that its reasons for doing so were due to concerns about radioactive contamination, specifically.

Japan pointed fingers at no other country but Korea as to such meal preparation plans for its athletes. Japanese Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Marukawa Tamayo said on July 20 in a press conference that Korea didn’t have to ship in from home domestically produced ingredients because the local produce in Fukushima is safe. Japan’s media outlets and lawmakers also criticized Korea for not using Japan’s local food ingredients.

Mainstream Western news outlets censored reporting on this sticky issue during the Olympics when Japanese government repeatedly assured Fukushima ingredients would be safe.

Only the Korea Times reported an English language article based on Japanese newspaper reporting. Japan has been criticizing Korea for officially expressing concern about the safety of Fukushima ingredients for Olympic athletes.

The United States and South Korea among other countries have been providing meals familiar to their athletes to ensure unfamiliar food does not affect performance. But as the above article mentions, Japan only singles out Korea for criticism and harassment.

Team Korea is bringing a taste of home to the Tokyo Olympics

The United States team brought along more than 70,000 pounds of American sourced ingredients directly from the United States to feed American athletes, but since no official statement was made about Fukushima sourced ingredient safety concerns, Japan never criticized or harassed the United States.

Japan frets over South Korea’s Olympic food site set up on Fukushima woes
August 2, 2021


Japan decided to only provide Asian foods covering Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese and left out Korean food completely from the Olympic menu. Under the same reasoning as the United States and other countries participating in the Tokyo Olympics, the main purpose of setting up a separate food site was to prepare Korean food familiar to the training regimen of Korean athletes. But to Japanese, Fukushima is insulted.

The United States also did this American sourced separate food preparation before during the Beijing 2008 Olympics, fearing that Chinese sourced ingredients were contaminated and unsafe.

Apparently, the safety concerns expressed by South Korea over Fukushima ingredients still being contaminated found vindication against constant Japanese harassment, when Japanese newspapers broke the story that radioactive Fukushima honey sold and likely consumed had to be recalled.

The radioactive honey is indicative of a wider problem. Honey does not come out of thin air; even school children learn that honey bees collect nectar from nearby flowers.

Kids Learn Why Bees Are Awesome | National Geographic

Bee keeping is an industry that not only supplies honey. Bees play an important role in modern agriculture for pollination.

Since the radioactive material in the honey comes from the nectar collected by honey bees from flowers growing in Fukushima area around the disaster site, radioactive honey is an indication that Fukushima peaches, for example among other produce, remains contaminated. The Fukushima flowers grow from the contaminated soil, water, and air as a result of three nuclear reactors exploding.

Therefore, once prized Fukushima rice, fruits, seafood, and other produce are still contaminated by Japanese own admission despite Japanese government stubbornness insisting Fukushima food produce is safe for consumption by sleight of test data or blending to reduce apparent radiation levels.

Taiwan ban on Japanese food looks set to stay
December 8, 2020

Tokyo 2020: The Radioactive Olympics

Washoku branding was born to address the issue of huge drop in Fukushima related exports after the 2011 nuclear disaster. By using UNESCO designation, washoku ingredients could get a big boost in interest.

Apparently, for Japanese government, tracking down one by one is almost a game to make countries fully accept importing Fukushima produce without restrictions.

‘Nuclear foods’ progress: Just 15 countries worldwide left still restricting Japanese food from districts stricken by Fukushima disaster
February 23, 2021


The Japanese people themselves still do not trust their own government assurances that Fukushima foodstuffs are safe. If the Japanese themselves are leery about consuming anything from Fukushima with tremendous mistrust of their own government, why should South Korea or any other country believe the Japanese government?

Fukushima Has Turned These Grandparents Into Avid Radiation Testers
September 11, 2020

Part of the reason people want to collect data themselves and compare it is because even after more information became available, it was often contradictory.

The United Nations and the International Commission on Radiological Protection have published reports saying that radiation risks in Fukushima are low.

Other organizations, like Greenpeace, dispute those findings. The Japanese government insists that the areas being reopened are safe.

But many are quick to point out that the government raised the legal limit of radiation exposure in this part of Fukushima prefecture after the disaster — meaning that many of these areas wouldn’t necessarily be considered safe in other parts of Japan or the world.