Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam


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Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby a.serrao » May 19th, '11, 15:30

Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam-dried tea leaves for radiation

SHIZUOKA -- Gov. Heita Kawakatsu has snubbed the central government's request for tea-growing regions to check steam-dried green tea leaves for any radioactive material, pointing out that such a test is going too far.

Kawakatsu announced on May 18 that his prefecture -- the nation's largest tea producer -- will not comply with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's request that local governments in tea-growing regions check steam-dried green tea leaves, called "Aracha," for any radioactive substances.

"Checking (the radioactivity levels in) raw tea leaves and tea for drinking is enough," said Kawakatsu.

Aracha weighs about one-fifth normal tea due to water evaporation and tends to have a higher level of radioactive substances than raw green tea leaves.

Alarmed by the recent detection of high levels of radioactive cesium in tea leaves, the ministry has ordered Tokyo and more than a dozen other prefectures in the Tohoku, Kanto and other regions to check Aracha, instructing them to ban distribution of Aracha if cesium tops the national provisional limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.

There has been a conflict of opinions within the central government over the issue, with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare insisting that a uniform limit be strictly applied for Aracha while the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries arguing that the application of the limit should be flexible.

"By confusing consumers, the central government could heighten public distrust in the state," said Gov. Kawakatsu.

Click here for the original Japanese story


(Mainichi Japan) May 19, 2011
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby teaisme » May 19th, '11, 15:44

shouldn't something like this be so obvious...better safe then sorry you know, If it's in the aracha, why would I want it in processed form even if the numbers go completely down to zero?
The more stringent the standards the better, especially in a already delicate situation like this. The Governor protesting automatically lowered my faith in the safety of Shizuoka teas.
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby entropyembrace » May 19th, '11, 15:48

I´m sure the governor knows that his statement is hurting the credibility of Shizuoka teas....I don´t think he would be saying such things if he didn´t think that Shizuoka aracha would fail the testing which would do much more harm to Shizuoka tea sales.
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby a.serrao » May 19th, '11, 15:57

entropyembrace wrote:I´m sure the governor knows that his statement is hurting the credibility of Shizuoka teas....I don´t think he would be saying such things if he didn´t think that Shizuoka aracha would fail the testing which would do much more harm to Shizuoka tea sales.

So, after all, better selling radioactive teas than nothin'?
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby teaisme » May 19th, '11, 16:14

bah apparently so

my worst fears about Japanese teas are slowly starting to be realized...
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby entropyembrace » May 19th, '11, 16:46

a.serrao wrote:
entropyembrace wrote:I´m sure the governor knows that his statement is hurting the credibility of Shizuoka teas....I don´t think he would be saying such things if he didn´t think that Shizuoka aracha would fail the testing which would do much more harm to Shizuoka tea sales.

So, after all, better selling radioactive teas than nothin'?


Just like everywhere else $$$ is king.
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby tortoise » May 19th, '11, 16:51

I don't know. Aracha is unfinished tea. Why, if you check it raw, and you check it finished, does it need to be checked at an intermediate phase? I mean, if "tea for drinking" is safe, then isn't the radiation level of an intermediate phase irrelevant?

Are any of you purchasing Aracha to drink?

I think the Governor is sticking his neck out for the production companies (or his own prefecture), basically, whoever will bear the cost to do this third level of testing.

If I'm way off-base here, someone please explain what I'm missing.
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby AdamMY » May 19th, '11, 16:57

tortoise wrote:
Are any of you purchasing Aracha to drink?


I think occasionally Aracha is sold to drink, but if that is the case shouldn't they just have any tea marked for sale checked and cleared?
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby entropyembrace » May 19th, '11, 17:02

There´s a few important questions in my mind...

The aracha has higher concentrations of radioactive isotopes than fresh tea because it´s dehydrated which increases the concentration. That´s not hard to understand. Now finished tea ready to be sold to consumers is still dehydrated why would the concentration be much different from aracha?

Is finished tea being checked for radiation currently?

Wouldn´t it make more sense to check aracha than finished tea? Check aracha and you only have to run one series of tests....check finished tea and you´ll have to run tests constantly all year long every time some of the aracha is taken out of storage and processed into sencha. Are they really going to do that?
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby a.serrao » May 19th, '11, 17:14

entropyembrace wrote:There´s a few important questions in my mind...

The aracha has higher concentrations of radioactive isotopes than fresh tea because it´s dehydrated which increases the concentration. That´s not hard to understand. Now finished tea ready to be sold to consumers is still dehydrated why would the concentration be much different from aracha?

Is finished tea being checked for radiation currently?

Wouldn´t it make more sense to check aracha than finished tea? Check aracha and you only have to run one series of tests....check finished tea and you´ll have to run tests constantly all year long every time some of the aracha is taken out of storage and processed into sencha. Are they really going to do that?


Good points!
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby AdamMY » May 19th, '11, 17:16

Entropye... wrote:There´s a few important questions in my mind...

The aracha has higher concentrations of radioactive isotopes than fresh tea because it´s dehydrated which increases the concentration. That´s not hard to understand. Now finished tea ready to be sold to consumers is still dehydrated why would the concentration be much different from aracha?

Is finished tea being checked for radiation currently?

Wouldn´t it make more sense to check aracha than finished tea? Check aracha and you only have to run one series of tests....check finished tea and you´ll have to run tests constantly all year long every time some of the aracha is taken out of storage and processed into sencha. Are they really going to do that?


I can not fully answer your questions Entropy, I only really know what the story says, which is quoted below.

a.serrao wrote:"Checking (the radioactivity levels in) raw tea leaves and tea for drinking is enough," said Kawakatsu.

Aracha weighs about one-fifth normal tea due to water evaporation and tends to have a higher level of radioactive substances than raw green tea leaves.


When I first read this, I thought normal tea would be tea that has already been processed, meaning aracha is much drier than sencha. Although the term there is a bit ambiguous as to what they actually mean by normal tea.

But According to the article they are already checking raw leaves, and tea for drinking, which I guess answers my earlier question. In fact the more I read this article the less it actually concerns me, as the governor seems to be saying checking it mid way seems to be redundant and is likely causing all sorts of extra fees to the producers which likely have to pay for the checks.

So in short money still is king, but it does not seem to really be at a major health risk to the people, as the final product is still being checked for safety.
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby a.serrao » May 19th, '11, 17:17

entropyembrace wrote:There´s a few important questions in my mind...

The aracha has higher concentrations of radioactive isotopes than fresh tea because it´s dehydrated which increases the concentration. That´s not hard to understand. Now finished tea ready to be sold to consumers is still dehydrated why would the concentration be much different from aracha?

Is finished tea being checked for radiation currently?

Wouldn´t it make more sense to check aracha than finished tea? Check aracha and you only have to run one series of tests....check finished tea and you´ll have to run tests constantly all year long every time some of the aracha is taken out of storage and processed into sencha. Are they really going to do that?


The farmers rely on the fact that infusing tea leaves diluites radioisotopes by a factor of 10.
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby AdamMY » May 19th, '11, 17:19

a.serrao wrote:
The farmers rely on the fact that infusing tea leaves diluites radioisotopes by a factor of 10.



And, you know that how?
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby mlafranc » May 19th, '11, 17:23

When workers handle the aracha while transporting it and then processing it into the finished product, could they be harmed by the radioactive content?
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Re: Shizuoka governor snubs central gov't request to check steam

Postby a.serrao » May 19th, '11, 17:25

AdamMY wrote:
a.serrao wrote:
The farmers rely on the fact that infusing tea leaves diluites radioisotopes by a factor of 10.



And, you know that how?


I don't know. It's written here: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BN ... 79344.html

According to the division, radioactive materials are diluted to from one-30th to one-45th when tea is made from minimally processed leaves. Radiation is reduced by one-sixth to one-ninth in tea made from fresh leaves.

Therefore, if tea is made from fresh tea leaves containing 1,000 becquerels of radiation, the radiation levels would drop to around 100 becquerels, a level below the government's safety limits.
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