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  1. Takami MORITA on March 6, 2021 at 3:15 am

    Dear Leslie Mabon, thanks for the interesting poster.
    The FDNPP accident dropped the brand value of Joban-Mono. How do you think that it can be regained?

    • Leslie Mabon on March 7, 2021 at 8:09 pm

      Dear Morita-san – thank you for your question!

      I think it is a long and challenging process to regain the brand value of Joban-Mono (note: for those unfamiliar, Joban-Mono refers to seafood landed in Fukushima Prefecture, reflecting the old geographical name for the area). However, I think that the regional government – Fukushima Prefecture – and also local governments such as Iwaki City Government, as well as the fisheries cooperatives, are doing good work to regain the value of Joban-Mono. See, for example, the website

      As well as communicating about the safety of local produce, fishers, fisheries cooperatives and local governments are also now developing messaging and branding about the deliciousness of the seafood. The idea they are trying to convey seems to be that fish caught in Fukushima waters are not only safe, but delicious as well. In other words, it gives us a good reason to want to consume Joban-Mono, and shows us that these are high-value produce. A lot of this messaging relates to the unique marine environment off the Fukushima Coast, where the warm current from the south meets the cold current from the north, creating ideal nutrient conditions for delicious fish.

      There is also a strong effort to show that the people doing the fishing – the fishers and cooperative workers – are dedicated and trustworthy, people who take a pride in their work ( This is also supported by a number of local businesses – such as the Yoake Ichiba restaurants in Iwaki ( – who take pride in showing their customers that they serve Joban-Mono seafood; and also by consumers who use social media (especially Twitter) to show their pride in eating Joban-Mono themselves.

      So, in sum, it will be a long process to regain the brand value of Joban-Mono. However, by communicating the quality as well as the safety of the produce, and creating a culture of residents who take pride in eating the fish, then I think the value can return over time.

  2. Takami MORITA on March 8, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Dear Leslie Mabon, thank you for your polite answer.
    I think that the treated water should not be released until the progress of the Fukushima fisheries revitalization. What do you think about the release?

    • Leslie Mabon on March 8, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Dear Morita-san,

      That is a very good question indeed. As I understand it, the main reason for the fisheries cooperatives in Fukushima Prefecture to oppose the releases of treated water into the sea is that they are concerned the releases will damage the reputation of Fukushima fisheries again, and undo all of the hard work they have done over the last decade to restore consumer confidence in their produce (as you can see from the reply above, a significant amount of work and effort has gone into revitalisation of fisheries so far).

      Reflecting what Dr Buesseler said in his keynote talk, I think that before any further progress is made with the releases, it is important that there is a full understanding of the material that is in the tanks. There is also no public information yet on how the water will be released, or when/where exactly it will be released. From my own research both in Fukushima fisheries and elsewhere, I know that transparency and clarity of information is a very important factor in building trust and enabling people to come to an informed decision on whether or not they support a particular course of action.

      So in my view, it is hard to form an opinion on the releases until more specific information is available publicly – although I would hope that the rigorous monitoring and screening measures that are in place at present will continue to ensure that the risk to humans is very low. It is also vital that any decision about releasing water takes into account not only the economic question of how much fisheries are worth, but also reflects the social and cultural significance of fisheries to the Fukushima coast. As fishing is a major source of pride and identity to fishers and coastal communities, I would hope that careful consideration is given to the possible social and cultural effects of any activities, such as treated water releases, which are perceived as having the potential to jeopardise this recovery.

  3. Takami MORITA on March 9, 2021 at 4:59 am

    Dear Leslie Mabon, thank you for your valuable comments.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you in Fukushima.

  4. Leslie Mabon on March 9, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Dear Morita-san, thank you for your great questions. I look forward to being able to visit Fukushima Prefecture again in future – in fact, it will be the first place I go when we are able to travel internationally again!