New mothers in the area of the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactor may have their breast milk tested to check for radioactive substances, according to government officials.
The Fukushima Prefecture is preparing a plan to obtain milk samples from new mothers across the region, according to an official who preferred to remain anonymous.
About 18,000 babies are born every year in the Fukushima Prefecture, and roughly half of them are breastfed. A previous survey made last summer found traces of radioactive cesium in the breast milk of mothers in the region, but in quantities which did not pose health risks to the babies.
Mothers in the region have however publicly protested against the possible health risks posed to their babies after the natural disaster that destroyed the factory and started a yet unresolved nuclear crisis.
The March 11 quake and later tsunami left about 20,000 people dead or missing, in one of the greatest natural catastrophes in history.