The cosmetics retailer is providing much-needed income in this now-marginalized area of Japan

A catastrophic magnitude nine earthquake hit Fukushima on March 11, 2011, resulting in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors and subsequent release of radioactive materials into the environment. Five years later, international media attention has moved on to other more recent topics, but the local population still suffers from the consequences.

Local tourism has dropped by 80% and the once thriving agricultural sector is struggling, as people do not want to buy produce due to the perceived health hazards.

However, a local agriculture group Iwaki Otento Sun is collaborating with Lush Cosmetics, known for its fair trade and environmentally conscious products, to bring back jobs and business by growing a special type of organic cotton indigenous to Japan. The cotton, woven into cloth, will be used for gift-wrapping at Lush stores worldwide.

Lush has been using the traditional Japanese art of furoshiki, paperless gift-wrapping, to package its bath bombs and bar soaps for years and sourcing the cotton from Fukushima is a way for the company to give back to the community.

Fukushima-sourced wraps will be available in Lush stores from March 2017.

Lush Cosmetics

A catastrophic magnitude nine earthquake hit Fukushima on March 11, 2011, resulting in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors and subsequent release of radioactive materials into the environment. Five years later, international media attention has moved on to other more recent topics, but the local population still suffers from the consequences.

Local tourism has dropped by 80% and the once thriving agricultural sector is struggling, as people do not want to buy produce due to the perceived health hazards.