Japan to world: Our gyokuro is not radioactive

Almost two months after the earthquake in Japan caused nuclear reactors in Fukushima to leak radioactive particles, tea importers who sell Japanese tea are trying to figure out how to tell everyone that, they say, no tea has been contamintaed. According to an April 25 article on worldteanews.com, European bans on imports from the country, which will continue until the end of June, have already caused delays, and may result in higher prices for tea from the country. Power outages in Japan related to the accident may also slow tea production.

A tea importer from San Francisco is said to have recently returned from a trip to the country and says “no contaminated tea has been reported,” according to World Tea News Editor Dan Bolton. The tea businessman also reported that the World Green Tea Association was being “very cautious about saying anything good or bad about the tea crop in any region” — essentially, it’s saying nothing at all.

The most interesting part of the article, to me anyway, was at the bottom of the article a section titled, “What to Say to Clients and Customers.” The official party lines include the observations that “No tea either freshly picked or packaged has been discovered to be contaminated by radioactive particles” and “Virtually all of Japan’s tea is grown at least 200 to 300 kilometers south of the radiation source.”

The most popular Japanese teas in the U.S. include green teas gyokuro, sencha and bancha, and the roasted hojicha.


About Don Seiffert

I'm a reporter and writer in the Boston area.
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