The government ordered Fukushima and three other prefectures Monday to suspend shipments of spinach and another leaf vegetable following the detection of radioactive substances in the produce at levels beyond legal limits, while trace amounts of radioactive substances were detected in tap water samples collected Sunday and Monday in nine prefectures.
High levels of radioactive substances were also detected in seawater near a troubled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. The company said it is too early to assess the impact on fishery products.
While issuing the orders to Fukushima and its surrounding prefectures -- Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma -- in accordance with a nuclear disaster law, the government's nuclear disaster countermeasure headquarters also asked Fukushima to refrain from shipping raw milk.
Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said the readings for radioactive substances found in the farm produce were at levels exceeding provisional limits set under the Food Sanitation Law but ''aren't readings that would affect humans.''
''Eating food with (radioactive levels) exceeding provisional limits isn't going to affect your health,'' Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano added, urging the public not to overreact to the findings.