To reply to Marius87:
The question of whether Japanese whisky is still safe to drink or not, is something I've been spending a lot of time dealing with since my return from Japan 5 weeks ago. Having been caught up in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, I saw first-hand how the Japanese dealt with the situation and have been careful to keep in touch with friends and colleagues who are still there (David Croll from Number One Drinks/Whisky Mag Japan and Chris Bunting among others).
The reaction in France has been particularly negative in their reaction to the situation due, I am inclined to think, to the fact that this country relies so heavily on nuclear power and is thus ready to imagine the worst-case scenario. But other countries, too, - due to the over-sensationalist approach of the press, to a lack of understanding of the situation, and also to a failure to grasp the geography of the country - have been quick to panic and come to the conclusion that Japanese whisky has been contaminated and is to be avoided at all costs.
Whilst I do have to admit that I have a vested interest in the continuing success of Japanese whisky (check out my profile, you'll se why), I am fundamentally opposed to such over-reactions. Quite simply, from all the information that I have obtained, the only Japanese whisky that was ever really at risk was Miyagikyo, and even that is now completely safe. Whilst vegetables and dairy products have been proven to be contaminated, whisky is an altogether different animal and cannot be considered in the same way (it doesn't grow outside, or walk around all day in the open air, for example, but aged slowly and surely inside wooden casks, inside warehouses etc.). What I have read in the way of official documentation makes it clear that average levels of radiation - on a a prefecture by prefecture basis - are still actually lower than in, say, France (where not only are natural levels much higher, but there is a much larger number of nuclear power stations). In short, outside of the 30km radius surrounding Fukushima, levels are nowhere near as high as is generally thought. Suntory have conducted tests at Hakushu to ascertain whether the environment and the water sources are safe, Number One Drinks have submitted samples of Chichibu, Hanyu and Karuzawa to laboratories for tests and Nikka have begun to implement the official guidelines as outlined in Regulation 297/2011. All have received positive results. And even if there were a risk that any of these Japanese tests were not conducted appropriately, a second batch of tests, conducted by EU authorities upon reception of the goods in the EU serve to make sure.
In France (where all Nikka whisky initially arrives before being exported elsewhere in Europe), a government department called the DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes), in conjunction with the DPP (Drection de la Protection des Populations), is also carrying out random spot-checks all throughout the country and taking samples away for extra analysis.
So, between what I saw with my own eyes in Japan, and all the above information, I really don't see the need to do anything other than simply stay informed and alert.
If you require further information and want to check out the official texts, then you can find them (or links towards them) on the Number One Drinks Facebook Fan Page and the Japanese Sake & Spirits Society Page on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pa ... 5987881099https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pa ... 6951470387