October 26, 2011
Cars that were contaminated by radiation during the March nuclear meltdown in Japan are finding their way into the reeling nation’s used car market.
Vehicles from the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered a series of meltdowns after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, were supposed to be destroyed. But unscrupulous dealers have registered them under new license plates and sold them, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. Unable to export the cars, they’re selling them in Japan.
Dealers have traditionally bought used vehicles in Japan and exported them to Russia and Southeast Asia, according to the Telegraph. In June, Russian police turned back a half-dozen used cars from Japan after finding they were contaminated with radioactove isotopes, according to the Interfax news agency. Authorities in South America, Australia and the U.S. have also stepped up inspection of new and used cars coming in from Japan.