Fast food chain Yoshinoya Holdings has announced plans to grow rice, cabbage, and onions a mere 100 km (60 miles) away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The company is known for their “gyudon”, or bowls of stewed beef over rice. Forming a joint venture with local farmers, they are seeking to save money and support the regional economy by supplying their own vegetables.
Since the meltdown sparked by the 2011 tsunami, 160,000 people living closest to the plant were forced to relocate. The government ordered a 20km evacuation zone, and a voluntary 30km voluntary evacuation zone was established. The plant’s operator, TEPCO has been widely criticized for its handling of the cleanup. Every day, 300 tons of radioactive water flows from the plant while workers struggle to contain the leaks.
As Reuters reports, Yoshinoya plans to grow its crops in Skirakawa, located to the south-west of the plant. They assure the public that their food will be safe. Japan already has strict food standards in place, and the government will further monitor the quality of the vegetables. Regardless of their assurances, there has been general public unease over the safety of food grown in the area. Yoshinoya hopes that their agricultural endeavors will help with the region’s reconstruction.