FAQ: Japanese Food Products in Singapore and Travel to Japan
As of 25 April, 2012


  1. Are imported Japanese food products in Singapore safe?
  Yes. The Japanese food products being circulated in Singapore are checked by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore. AVA refers to the international standard set by Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), an international commission that decides on food safety standards, for the radioactive inspection on imported foods.
  1. How about the safety of food products in Japan?
  Effective from April 2012, Japan has set a legal safety standard for the radioactivity in food. This standard is established, on the basis of provisional standard set after the accident, taking into account the food intervention exemption level (exposure level that does not raise health concerns even when the food is consumed continuously) set by Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).
The previous (provisional) standard was already much tougher than the international standards set by ICRP and WHO, but the adoption of the new legal standard will further ensure the safety of Japanese food for consumers.
Needless to say, it is prohibited to circulate foods detected with radiation above legal level. The details of the new standard are available here.
  1. Does the new standard account for the safety of children?
  Yes. the new standard is set with consideration for the varied intake and susceptibility level of adults, young children and infants. For example, “milk” and “infant food products” consumed by children, a stricter legal limit is applied.
  1. Is tap water safe?
  Yes. The level of radiation in the aqueduct is monitored regularly and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan verified that the radioactivity in March 2012 was below detection limit.
  1. If travellers were exposed to radiation while visiting Japan, is it possible for them to spread harmful radiation to families and friends when they return?
  WHO says that unless a person stays in the restricted zone (20km radius from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant) marked by the Government of Japan, the person will not exposed to harmful level of radiation.
  1. What is the level of radiation in Japan now?
  With the exception of restricted areas mentioned above, no different from the pre-accident levels. As of March 2012, there are no significant difference in radioactivity level among major cities in the world, including Singapore. Even in Fukushima prefecture (local region of Aizu) was 0.08-0.14μSv/h. Radiation readings of other international cities are available here.
  1. Is it true that a person may be in danger of being exposed to radiation just by passing Fukushima in a moving vehicle?
  No. It is safe to say that there is no danger of radiation exposure while travelling on the Tohoku (Northeast) Shinkansen, or driving through Fukushima prefecture by car, unless a person enters the restricted zone (within 20km radius from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant). (Source: Q&A compiled by Agency for Natural Resources and Energy)
  1. Does visit to Japan impede pregnancy or affect reproduction function?
  No. Risks of permanent infertility must only be considered if a person is exposed very high levels radiation (3,500~6,000 mSv for testis, versus 2,500~6,000 mSv for ovaries). However, a person living in Japan is unlikely be exposed to radiation level exceeding 20mSv per year even if he or she spends an entire year in Japan. (Source: Q&A compiled by Agency for Natural Resources and Energy)
  1. Will a child who is born of a mother exposed to radiation develop health problems? Also, when children are exposed to radiation, what possible effects are there on their reproduction function when they grow up?
  There have been no evidence suggesting ill effects on genes, such as those leading to birth defects, abnormal pigmentation and sudden mutation of blood protein, to be triggered by radiation exposure. ABCC (The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) has continued to research and study the effects of radiation on heredity since 1945. (Source: Q&A compiled by Agency for Natural Resources and Energy)