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Tea buffs gather in Japan for global festival
Tea enthusiasts gathered in Japan to talk about one of the world's favorite drinks, as green tea growers in Shizuoka aim to boost tourism and the reputation of their crops following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Shizuoka is the heart of Japan's green tea quarry, 40 percent of the leaves used to make Japan's drink of choice is produced here.

Eiji Matsumoto, a tea farmer who works from dusk to dawn in the fields said, "This is the most typical variety in the region, it's a fragrant green tea.” Tea is a big business here, this industry generates thousands of jobs. It adds around 4000 million dollars a year to the economy of many countries.

The Shizuoka local government takes the tea sales seriously, and it organizes worlds tea festival to celebrate the aromatic beverage, and is called OCHA, which took place earlier in May this year. It tells the history and health benefits of tea and celebrates traditional tea ceremonies and even tea massages are given in this festival. It helps in tea tourism and boosts the exports of tea, reported AFP.

This world tea festival is celebrated once every three years in Japan. In the festival the experts taste the different varieties of teas grown on the slopes of Shizuoka in central Japan. Julia Silalahi, Commercial attache, Indonesia Embassy in Japan says that, “Initially we used to drink, not green tea but black tea. But now on, everybody knows that green tea is very good for our heart.” Tea industry leaders also lead the festival. Mitsuru Shirai, who heads Shizuoka prefecture's office for tea and agricultural produce, says that, “It is tea that has created us, and tea festival is a combined celebration of culture and industry.

But in the weeks after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, when reactors set into meltdown after the Tsunami, and a cloud of radiation drifted over parts of Japan - the radiation also affected the tea, and 162 kilograms of dried leaves were seized at Paris, as they found it above safety limits. And after this disaster the Institute for Research on Tea, analyses soil samples for signs of contamination.

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