October 2, 2023
TOKYO – The agricultural bounty of Fukushima Prefecture has reached the taste buds of visitors at an event in Bangkok, with similar festive occasions planned soon for London and Singapore.
Fukushima-grown peaches, grapes and rice are among the products being offered for tasting and sale at the events. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. is holding the events in cooperation with agricultural cooperatives in the prefecture and the Fukushima Prefectural Association in London.
The one-day London event on Sunday will mark its debut in Europe.
Visitors can gain knowledge about Fukushima products at the events, which are also aimed at curbing harmful rumors about food from the area.
Questions will also be answered regarding the safety of the discharge into the ocean of treated water from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant that TEPCO is decommissioning. The first batch of diluted treated water was released from Aug. 24. The second batch is slated for release from Oct. 5.
The Bangkok event began Friday in the food section of the luxury department store Siam Paragon.
According to organizers, shoppers at the Fukushima food corner where Shine Muscat grapes were on display tasted the fruit and commented that they were very fresh and tasty. Some customers commented that the grapes were large and well-rounded, indicating their high quality, and that their color was beautiful.
The event runs through Oct. 29, with sales focusing on these Shine Muscat grapes. Free tastings are also offered every Friday through Sunday.
In London at the festival known as Japan Matsuri in Trafalgar Square, a booth will be set up with peaches and pears, as well as Shine Muscat grapes, offered for tasting and sale. In addition, Hokkaido scallops, which have been affected by China’s total embargo on Japanese seafood since the release of treated water, will be cooked by staff from a local Japanese restaurant and offered for tasting.
In Singapore, a booth will be set up Oct. 11-13 at Food Japan 2023, one of the largest Japanese food events in any country that is a member of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Packed rice from Fukushima Prefecture will be offered and a business meeting space will be available to help expand distribution and sales channels. On Oct. 13, the general public will be allowed to enter the trade show, where tastings and sales will also be offered.
These overseas events are operated under the name “Hakken! Fukushima” with “hakken” meaning “discover.” They started in August last year and have gone to Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam since then. Local Japanese restaurants have also participated in some events by having food products from Fukushima incorporated into their menus, and all have been well received.
“We would like to continue this project together with the people of Fukushima and the Fukushima prefectural associations in each country,” a TEPCO official told The Japan News before leaving for London. “In the future, we would like to have department stores in various countries set up shelves where Fukushima products are always available for purchase.”