The Japanese government on April 1, 2012 introduced stringent food safety regulations, setting a radioactive cesium limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram. Despite the new regulations, Fukushima vegetables have taken the brunt of radiation rumors, prices declining even further than they did in fiscal 2011, the first year of the nuclear crisis.
The Mainichi tracked price increase and decrease rates (annual transactions divided by total quantity) of vegetables at the Tokyo wholesale markets by classifying vegetables in four categories -- nationwide, eastern Japan, western Japan and Fukushima -- against the base figures of fiscal 2009.
In fiscal 2011, the prices of vegetables in the first three categories jumped around 4 percent over fiscal 2009, but those of Fukushima vegetables dropped 5 percent. In fiscal 2012, the prices of vegetables in the nationwide category dipped 0.2 percent from fiscal 2009 but the prices of vegetables from Fukushima Prefecture plunged 18.7 percent.
According to 2010 Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry statistics and other sources, over 20 percent of all vegetables shipped from Fukushima Prefecture were traded at the Tokyo wholesale markets.
A vegetable dealer in Tokyo says, ''There are no takers (for Fukushima vegetables) even now.