Date: Monday, August 01, 2011 19:15 +0900 (JST)
Japan's government is to ask rice-producing regions to check their crops for radiation before and after harvest.
The government plans to provide local authorities with details of the tests this week. The tests are designed to ensure that rice on the market will be free of radioactive cesium believed to come from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The government says it will suspend rice shipments if levels of cesium exceeding the safety limit are detected.
All 6 prefectures in the Tohoku region, northern Japan, have decided to test their rice for radiation.
Tokyo and 12 other prefectures also say they will carry out or consider radiation checks.
Radioactive cesium has been detected in rice straw, vegetables and compost in wide areas following the accident at the Fukushima plant.
Farmers have voiced concern that their rice may be contaminated, because it was planted after the accident.
Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo will start tests soon, as the region's harvest begins in early August.