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Strawberry shipments start from formerly evacuated Fukushima town

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori, right, and others taste freshly picked strawberries in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunIWAKI, Fukushima — Strawberries started being shipped Monday from Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, a town that was given an evacuation order following the nuclear power plant disaster in 2011, although the order was partially lifted this April.

To mark the occasion, authorities and guests were invited to a strawberry tasting event and a tour of a strawberry cultivation facility in the town.

The facility, measuring about 28,800 square meters, was built in the town’s Ogawara district after the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It is operated by a semipublic company sponsored by the town.

The facility is installed with waist-high planters that allow workers to stand up when working.

The latest computerized equipment to control room temperature, water temperature and water volume makes it possible to grow strawberries throughout the year.

Two machines to assess radioactive material in fruit were also introduced at the facility.

About 10 tons of strawberries are scheduled to be shipped from the facility this fiscal year. The operator intends to increase the annual shipment to 100 tons in the future.Speech

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