Japan Widens Beef Ban

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TOKYO, Aug. 2 (UPI) — The Japanese government, fighting a quake-triggered nuclear plant crisis, Tuesday extended its beef cattle shipment ban to Tochigi prefecture in that region.

The action was taken as radiation emissions have continued from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in nearby Fukushima Prefecture, which was crippled by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said it was decided to ban shipments from Tochigi after some cattle raised there were found to be contaminated with radioactive cesium, Kyodo News reported.

The government already has suspended beef cattle shipments from Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.

Workers with the utility operating the Fukushima plant have been battling to bring the plant’s damaged reactors to what is called a cold shutdown to stop the radiation emissions.

Beef cattle shipments from these prefectures have caused widespread concern across the country.

The cesium is believed to have come from straw contaminated by the fallout from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Farmers responsible for shipping the affected cattle, and others who feed their cattle contaminated straw, have been required to conduct tests on all of their slaughtered beef.

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