GMO news related to Japan

05.02.2024 |

CRISPR tomatoes now on the shelves

Fruits supposedly improves quality of sleep

The first CRISPR tomatoes are now on the shelves in Japan. The 'GABA tomato' was developed with new genetic engineering techniques (NGTs). This is shown by photo just recently taken in a supermarket in the Tokyo region. According to the information on the packages, the tomatoes will lower blood pressure, relieve mental stress and improve sleep quality. Experts are doubting that the consumption of the fruits goes along with such effects. At the same time, according to the Japanese functional food register, the consumption of the tomatoes is not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and small children. Tomatoes like this could soon be available in supermarkets in Europe as well, without detailed risk assessment and labelling.

13.07.2022 |

GMOs in Asia : What’s happening and who’s fighting back?

The world is witnessing a renewed push in favour of genetically modified seeds and crops. As they have been done in the past, biotech firms and agribusiness are pitching new biotech plants as a silver bullet for humanity’s woes, from food and nutritional insecurity, to climate change and the loss of biodiversity. In this desperate need for solutions, the corporate sector hopes that their new GMOs (genetically modified organisms) can gain public support and easily dodge biosafety regulations. This is resulting in the persistent change of laws, regulations and standards governing GMOs across Asian countries. Gene-edited products, a new generation of GMO technology, are particularly gaining ground and receiving commercial licenses. This causes great concern among consumers, farming communities and activists.

30.06.2022 |

Genome-edited tomato puree sales launched

Bio Journal - June 2022

From May 20, Pioneer Ecoscience Co., Ltd., which has been selling genome-edited tomato seedlings and tomatoes since last year, began selling the first genome-edited processed food, tomato puree. The puree is on sale for 5,832 yen for 30 sachets of 15 grams of puree each.

20.03.2022 |

Japan: Genome-edited food companies find inventive ways to promote products

Possibly due to the high price, sales of genome-edited tomatoes are not doing too well, and the developer Sanatech Seed and the manufacturer Pioneer Ecoscience decided to distribute seedlings free of charge to welfare facilities for the elderly and the disabled as well as elementary schools. The opposition movement against this distribution is gathering strength. On January 27, the OK Seed Project, which started self-labeling seeds and seedlings to make it possible to identify them as non-genome-edited crops, held a press conference to announce that it had collected signatures from people opposing the free distribution and submitted them to the two companies and other organizations. The 9,195 signatures were sent to governors, superintendents of schools, and disability welfare departments across the country and it was also reported that the lobbying of municipalities is strengthening.

25.02.2022 |

Japan Resources – 184 | Public Hearing on Genome-Edited Foods in Japan


From the Editors: Legal Issues

Group Lawsuit Filed Against TEPCO by Young People with Thyroid Cancer

Public Hearing on Genome-Edited Foods in Japan

Status of Genome-Edited Fish and Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ) Activities

Opinion on the Japanese Government’s Draft Guidelines on Non-use Labeling of Food Additives

08.01.2022 |

Coming to your dinner plate soon? Potentially unsafe GM tomatoes

Sanatech's sedative tomato is on the market already; Cathie Martin's purple tomato may follow

Sanatech's CRISPR gene-edited tomato engineered to contain higher levels of a sedative substance, GABA, is being sold on the open market in Japan. While GABA is reportedly viewed as a health-promoting substance in Japan, findings in studies are mixed and there are no studies at all showing that eating the gene-edited tomato has health benefits or is even safe.

06.01.2022 |

Japan Resources – 183: Will genome edited food be labelled in Japan?

From the Editors: Energetic Japan

Nuclear Power in Japan, 10 Years after the Fukushima Disaster

CUJ Opinions on the Draft Basic Energy Plan

Will genome edited food be labelled in Japan?

Another Citizens’ Food Summit: The “Green Food System Strategy” proposed by MAFF is not that “Green”

Trend: The 2nd National Nanohana Blossom Summit in Oyama was held in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, on 11-12 December 2021

25.12.2021 |

Rapid commercialization of genome-edited food in Japan

CBIC From Bio Journal - January 2022

Rapid commercialization of genome-edited food in Japan

In 2021, amid the continuing impacts of the novel coronavirus, genome-edited foods were increasingly marketed in Japan. First, high-GABA tomatoes led the way. Sanatech Seed, a venture company founded by developer Professor Hiroshi Ezura of the University of Tsukuba, began distributing seedlings free of charge to the public in May. At the same time, the tomatoes were grown on partner farms, and Pioneer Ecoscience, the parent company of Sanatech Seed, began selling them on September 15. Pioneer Ecoscience also started selling seedlings to the public on October 11 and tomato puree late in the year.

01.11.2021 |

CRISPR fish: suspected ‘torture’ breeding

Super muscly red sea bream to be sold in Japan

1 November 2021 / Plans have been announced in Japan to begin marketing red sea bream genetically engineered (GE) with CRISPR/Cas. The gene editing tool was used in the fish to block gene functions which regulate muscle growth. As a result, the fish not only grow more muscle, they also have a larger-sized body, reduced body length and abnormal positioning of the vertebrae. In comparison to the wild type, the fish gains weight faster and appears to move more slowly.

20.07.2021 |

Japan: OK SEED Mark has been launched!

Following the cultivation of gene-edited soy beans in the USA in 2018, and the distribution of its soybean oil starting in 2019, Japan initiated the distribution of the first gene-edited tomato seedlings in May of this year. Later in the year, the Japanese government announced its Green Food System Strategy, which highlights the further use of gene-editing technology to develop new varieties.

As a response, a significant number of Japanese citizens have voiced concern. Citizens are aware that researchers from around the world have expressed concern about the safety of applying gene-editing technology to food. Regardless, the Japanese government argued that “gene manipulation by gene-editing is different from GMO technology and is indistinguishable from processes of natural mutation”, and allowed its distribution without conducting safety inspections or applying any labeling requirements.