GMO news related to Japan

24.04.2020 |

CUJ and the No! GMO Campaign: Please Reply to Our Questions Regarding Glyphosate Use in Hokkaido

Request to cease use of pre-harvest glyphosate in soybeans and reply to questions regarding its use

In response to our questionnaire dated March 17 2020, you responded on March 27 by e-mail, but you did not answer our questions 1 to 4.

Domestic agriculture is in a deep crisis due to trade agreements such as the TPP, the EU-Japan EPA, and the US-Japan FTA. We believe that the pursuit of safety in order to compete with cheap imported agricultural products is the best way to increase confidence in domestic agriculture and to survive. Many of the JAs under your organization are actively reducing the use of pesticides and pursuing environmentally friendly agriculture. Not only do we want you to produce safe agricultural products, but we also want to support domestic agriculture, which is responsible for Japan’s food self-sufficiency, and we worry about the health of the producers who are spraying pesticides.

10.04.2020 |

CUJ: Concerns Regarding Genome Editing of Fish

An article appeared in Tokyo Shimbun on January 24, 2020 that reported on the use of genome editing to exterminate invasive fish. The research is being pushed forward as a study by the National Research Institute of Aquaculture.

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Consequently, Consumers Union of Japan wrote to the research center on January 29 to express our concern and to ask a number of questions. We consider that this type of genome editing can have a large impact on related species, the natural environment, as well as the entire ecosystem. This impact due to the release of genome-edited fish must be analysed very carefully. On February 17 we received a reply from the research center.

23.05.2019 |

Japan: Please Join One Million Signature Petition Campaign: “Regulate All Gene-edited Food!”

Dear Friends and Fellow Anti-GMO Campaigners,

Please Join Our One Million Signature Petition Campaign:

“Regulate All Gene-edited Food!”

In March 2019, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan

concluded that no regulation is needed for most of gene-edited food to

be sold in Japan. The Ministry of the Environment also announced its

decision to require regulation only for limited gene-edited food using

created with specific processes. Consequently, some sources expect

gene-edited food to be available as early as this summer of 2019 in

Japan.

We, Consumers Union of Japan, together with concerned grassroots

organizations and Co-ops across Japan, have been advocating the

strictest possible regulation at a level that is at least equal to GMO

regulations over the last few years, but our voice has not been

reflected in the government’s decision making as of now. Our demand is

fully in accordance with our consumers’ rights stipulated in the Basic

Act on Consumers Policies.

We are highly concerned about this situation. No regulation means

basically no enforced safety tests, no transparency and no labelling.

Due in part to the fact that Japan is a country with less than 40% of

food self-sufficiency, consumers can only expect a marketplace that is a

virtual hell filled with uncontrolled gene-edited food produced possibly

both domestically and globally, unless we take action.

21.02.2019 |

Open Letter to Australia: Please Regulate New GM Technologies Strictly

To: Minister Bridget McKenzie

We are Consumers Union of Japan, founded in 1969, as a member-based consumer organization. One of our main concerns is the many problems with genetically modified organisms (GMO) and GM food. Consumers in Japan are strongly opposed to GM technology and do not want to eat such products.

In light of this, we are alarmed to hear that Australia is considering to deregulate new GM technologies, including CRISPR, in animals, plants and microbes. Japanese consumers would not at all be willing to eat such products, either. We do not believe the claims that these new technologies are “precise” or “predictable” but regard them with the same mistrust as older GM technologies, that can harm biological diversity, as well as pose unknown risks to human health.

Please regulate new GM technologies as strictly if not even stricter than older GM technologies, or you risk harming Australia’s image as a food producer here in Japan, and we will boycott all such products.

22.08.2018 |

In the News: “Gov’t committee’s GMO deregulation proposal too hasty: consumer groups, experts”

Consumers Union of Japan has been active in the debate about regulation of GMOs since the mid 1990 and firmly believe the new technologies, such as gene editing, must be strictly regulated. CUJ’s stance is that any such experiments should be stopped to avoid serious adverse effects on human health and the environment.

August 21, 2018 (Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO — Consumer groups are taking aim at Aug. 20 recommendations by an Environment Ministry expert committee that some genetically modified organisms (GMO) be deregulated.

The expert committee proposed deregulation of organisms edited to remove or deactivate certain genes as opposed to adding new code, but critics are claiming this is “the same as genetic manipulation,” and that it is “strange” to exempt it from government restrictions.

21.08.2018 |

EDITORIAL: Genome editing poses a tricky regulatory challenge

The government has started working on legal and regulatory rules on dealing with genome-edited animals and plants.

In developing a regulatory system to govern genome editing, a new type of genetic engineering that involves changing an organism’s DNA, the government has to adopt an appropriately cautious, safety-first approach to ensure that there will be no harmful effects on biodiversity or human health.

Unlike early, less precise genetic engineering techniques, gene editing is aimed at changing DNA at a specific site in the genome.

The approach employs various techniques. A certain type of protein is used as “scissors” to cut the DNA at the target site to eliminate its specific gene function. Or new useful DNA is inserted into a specific location of the gene.

04.08.2018 |

Where is restriction on genome editing headed in Japan?

On 11 July 2018, the Natural Environment Subcommittee of the Central Environment Council under the Ministry of the Environment (MoE), held a meeting of its GMO, etc. specialist panel, at which it was decided to establish an "investigative panel on genome editing technology, etc. and the Cartagena laws" thus setting the direction for deliberations. The most important task is to organize the concepts that will help to make a decision on whether or not genome editing will be subject to restrictions under the Cartagena laws (see BJ July 2018).

Under the concepts indicated by the MoE, genome editing is divided into three types, known as SDN1 to SDN3. SDN1 is the editing technology in greatest use at present, in which DNA is simply cleaved. This case does not fall under restrictions regardless of whether nucleic acid (e.g. guide RNA) is included in the artificial nuclease (DNA-cleaving enzyme). SDN2 inserts several bases at the location of the cleavage, and while nucleic acid is not included in the artificial nuclease this is subject to restrictions. SDN3 is the case in which genes are inserted at the location of the cleavage, and since nucleic acid is included, this is also subject to restrictions. Therefore, deliberations are to be conducted on the basis that no restrictions are imposed in the case that nothing is inserted, and imposed in the case that something is inserted.

29.06.2018 |

Japan-Korea-Taiwan Non-GMO Asia Forum established

On 8 May 2018, a symposium was held in the Taiwanese capital Taipei on the theme of GM food. The symposium was organized by the School Lunch Project 22 and the GMO Free School Campaign. 22 is the number of major administrative divisions in Taiwan. Homemakers Union Consumers Co-op and the GMO Free Campaign in Taiwan also cooperated with the event in a gathering aimed at making school lunches GMO free. At the gathering, Honorary Professor of Taiwan University Warren Kuo reported on the history of GMOs in Taiwan and explained how Taiwan's GMO food labeling and restrictions were once behind those of Japan and South Korea but are now the most advanced. The gathering ended with the announcement that "Yesterday, May 7, Taiwan’s parliament passed an Organic Agriculture Promotion Act. As similar acts have now also passed in Japan and South Korea, if three of the six countries that use the largest amounts of pesticides per unit area, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, promote organic farming, it will be possible to bring about a large reduction in the amounts of pesticides used in the world." On the same day, a ceremony for the establishment of the Non-GMO Asia Forum was held and it was agreed that in the future the citizens of the three countries would maintain close contact with one another and coordinate their actions.

15.06.2018 |

Japan suspends sale of Canadian wheat after GMO wheat found in Alberta

TOKYO/WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Japan’s farm ministry said on Friday it has suspended its tender and sale of wheat from Canada after grain containing a genetically modified trait was discovered last summer in Canada’s Alberta province.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said on Thursday the wheat containing a genetically modified trait, developed by Monsanto Co (BAYGn.DE) to tolerate the Roundup weed-killer, was discovered in Alberta.

“We are suspending the tender and sale of Canadian wheat until we confirm that the Canadian wheat that Japan buys contains no GMO,” an official at the Japanese farm ministry said.

14.03.2018 |

Japan: 2018 GMO-Free Zone Movement Report

Report from the 2018 GMO-Free Zone Movement Event Held in Nagoya, Japan

The 13th annual event to celebrate the Japanese GMO-Free Zone movement was held in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, on March 3, 2018. During the past year, many groups participated in the preparation of the event, including members of the Seikatsu Club co-operative movement, local citizens and farmers groups in and around Nagoya, as well as the No! GMO Campaign.

Some 300 people joined this year’s event. We welcomed five participants from South Korea’s National Korean Anti-GMO Movement and two participants from Taiwan’s Anti-GMO School Lunch Movement. Starting From Seed to Otowa Rice, the research council that promotes the Otowa variety of rice, the Aichi Network to Promote Sustainable Organic Agriculture, and the nation-wide grass-root movement to test wild-growing GM canola reported about their respective activities in Japan. Also, the latest figures from Japan’s growing GMO-Free Zone movement were announced.

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