When the nuclear reactors in Fukushima exploded in 2011, approximately 8,000 square kilometers were heavily contaminated with fallout and residents were forced to evacuate, probably for the rest of their lives. This news has been widely reported, but another aspect of the contamination received almost no coverage. It took a while for authorities to lock down the evacuation zones, and in those first few weeks there appeared to be no awareness of the need to control the movement of contaminated property out of the zone. People's clothes and belongings, even their cash, were likely covered in radioactive dust, but the objects of most obvious concern should have been vehicles.
Jay Ramey. "Radioactive cars from Japan keep turning up in Central Asia." Autoweek. July 11, 2014.
This report states that persistent exporters are finding ways to get through strict controls at major ports. Radioactive used cars are now coming to market in Central Asia through minor road border crossings. A director of the Disease Prevention Department in Bishkek, Kyrgisztan said the cars can't be sent back, so they might turn them into scrap. I'm not sure how they think that is a solution because scrapping means recycling the material into other consumer goods.
If the Japanese car industry were being managed intelligently, the major manufacturers would have long ago set up a buy-back program for radioactive cars, just as they can afford to do with recalls on other defective products. It would save their brand reputation overseas. It's shameful that they so badly disregarded the safety of consumers in the the developing world and underestimated their ability to detect radioactive cars.
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