Just today I received a couple of links from different people which disappoint and concern me. It appears that some Japanese tea from Shizuoka is tainted with radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant disaster which followed the earthquake and tsunami.
Here are three links:
1) Japan Today states that authorities in Shizuoka Prefecture suggested to a tea retailer that (s)he not publish news of tainted tea, for fear that people will overreact.
2) Japanese news giant NHK announced that “radioactive Cesium exceeding the legal limit” was found in Shizuoka tea at levels beyond what is considered safe.
3) The Wall Street Journal reports one incident of Japanese tea in Shizuoka Prefecture testing above the legally permissible limit of radiation.
Note that Shizuoka prefecture is approximately 300km from the Fukushima Daiichi Plant, where several nuclear reactors continue to be compromised. Approximately 50-60% of Japanese tea is grown in Shizuoka Prefecture (County), and much of the tea grown in this region is Sencha. Keep in mind that this is only one incident, and It is hoped that much of the tea grown in Shizuoka and other areas further south will be spared, providing a healthy and delicious crop for tea drinkers worldwide.
How do you know where your tea comes from? Ask your local tea retailer or online tea store administrators.
Keeping readers informed, whether the news is good or bad, remains a priority. Yet, while it’s important to report the news, it is also important to remain optimistic. As far as I have heard, most Japanese teas growing in southern regions of Japan are still considered safe to drink.
So many continue to suffer in Japan, whether from loss of loved ones or loss of crops. Let every morning tea ritual begin with loving thoughts of health and healing for our friends in Japan, remembering that in tea, kinship is universal.