CBD Meeting At The House of Representatives, Tokyo

We will be holding a meeting at The House of Representatives in Nagatacho, Tokyo on Thursday September 4, 2014 to discuss the upcoming UN conference about biological diversity. Consumers Union of Japan and the many groups and networks that follow these issues will ask questions to the government and elected representatives in the Parliament (Diet) that also care strongly about these issues. The public is invited.

We will participate in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference in South Korea this fall.

Leading up to that conference, we hope this event will be a fruitful discussion about Japan’s lack of progress to ratify the Nagoya Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, that was agreed upon in Nagoya fours years ago at the UN CBD conference held in that city (after very successful negotiations held in Kuala Lumpur, thus the joint name). The aim of the protocol is to aid countries in the case of disputes when there is a need to assess the liability and redress, if genetically modified organisms cause harm to the natural environment or human health.

Japan has also made little progress to address the problems with wild-growing genetically modified canola that we have found near harbours and food oil factories over the past 10 years. These GM crops pose a real risk to local biological diversity as a number of related food crops may be contaminated with GMOs.

Meanwhile, Japanese farmers have completely rejected genetically modified organisms. There is no cultivation of GMOs in Japan for commercial purposes. Very few field trials are ongoing at research institutes, which we are keeping a close eye on. Meanwhile, reports from China indicate that GM rice will not be allowed, which is great news. South Korea also does not grow any GMOs commercially.

The failure of GMO foods to catch on in virtually all parts of Asia by 2014 is a story that needs to be told to the world.

Location: The House of Representatives, Nagatacho, Tokyo, Room 101
Time: September 4, 2014, 14:00-16:00
Hosted by: Consumers Union of Japan, Green Co-op, Seikatsu Club, No! GMO Campaign, Japan Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Posted September 3rd, 2014 in Biodiversity, Biotechnology

Japan Resources No. 160

Here is the latest Japan Resources, our English newsletter, in pdf format. Do print it out for your library or send to anyone who may be interested. We compile news like this because it is easier to read than a website… And this is our 160th issue since starting this service back in 1980! There wasn’t much in English about Japanese NGO activities or campaigns from the civil sector, and of course that has changed since then, but we still believe Japan Resources has a role to play.

We warmly welcome your support, and if you want to make a contribution*, please contact the office.


Japan Resources No. 160

CUJ JR 160


45th Anniversary of CUJ
Letter from Consumers in Japan to Protest Against GMOs in Bangladesh
International Biodiversity Day Symposium
Japan Should Withdraw from TPP Negotiations Immediately
WikiLeaks Releases Secret Information About TPP Environment Chapter
Reform of the Power System

*Consumers Union of Japan depends entirely on our members for support. We don’t take any cash from government or business, and that’s how we stay totally independent. Since 1969!

Posted August 14th, 2014 in Japan Resources

45th Year Anniversary of Consumers Union of Japan: Local Roots & Local Action to Oppose Globalization

Symposium to Celebrate the 45th Year Anniversary of Consumers Union of Japan: Local Roots & Local Action to Oppose Globalization

45 years ago, Consumers Union of Japan was established based on consumer’s rights in order to create a sound and healthy future for our children. Over the years, we have faced a surging wave of issues caused by globalization. We have long sensed the impending crisis for rural areas, where the decline has been most noticeable. It is clear that the crisis has now reached people in all areas of Japan, from farm villages to cities. In light of this, we hold this symposium to once again focus on building a society and an economy where people can earn an honest living and return to living locally.

The spotlight is on taking action to create recycling communities all over the country that are not shaken by globalization, represented by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Please join us for an event to learn about different examples of activities ranging from food and health care to local off-grid energy production.

Speakers (Japanese only):

Kanno Yoshide (Farmer from Yamagata prefecture)
Satou Kenji (Managing Director, Consumer’s Co-operative PAL System Tokyo)
Hinoke Morio (Board Member for Vegetable Section, One Pack CSA)

Time: June 14, 2014 (Saturday) 13:00-15:00
Place: Tokyo Shigoto Center, Iidabashi station (JR Chuo line)
Map: http://vitaljapan.com/map_tokyoshigoto.htm


Posted June 12th, 2014 in Civil Rights

Letter From Consumers In Japan To Protest Against GMOs In Bangladesh

Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Hon’ble Sheikh Hasina

Embassy of Bangladesh
4-15-15 Meguro, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo-153-0063
Fax No: +81-03-5704-1696

Tokyo, Japan May 28, 2014

Japanese Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food & Agriculture
Amagasa Keisuke, Kawata Masaharu

We are a network of concerned Japanese consumers, farmers and experts with a strong desire to protect biological diversity and promote sustainable food and farming. Our network includes Consumers Union of Japan, No! GMO Campaign as well as co-ops and farmers organizations in different regions of Japan.

We recently discovered that your country has decided to promote genetically modified organisms (GMO) and introduced GM eggplant (BT brinjal) to selected farmers in different areas in Bangladesh in January, 2014. Consumers in Japan are strongly opposed to this act by your government.

If cultivation of GM eggplant (BT brinjal) is carried out on a large scale in Bangladesh, a country-of-origin for this important crop, it will not only have an influence on the food safety and food security, but may pollute other farms in your country. This could seriously influence your trading partners and countries such as Japan that import food. We would be forced to call on consumers in Japan to consider a boycott of farm products cultivated in Bangladesh.

Instead, we strongly urge you to cancel the approval of GM eggplant (BT brinjal) and prohibit the sale of all GM crops.

1) Cultivation of GM eggplant (BT brinjal) is not allowed in other countries. India and the Philippines are among the countries that prohibits GM eggplant (BT brinjal).

2) Many scientists have pointed out risks associated with the cultivation of GM crops, including adverse effects to the ecosystem and health problems for farmers. For consumers, the risks include allergic reactions and problems associated with unintended effects, such as the impact on the immune system. See for example the detailed guideline adopted by FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius in 2003 for the conduct of food safety assessment of GMO foods (CAC/GL 46-2003).

3) One approach to dealing with such varied and extensive risks involve using the precautionary principle, adopted in 1992 by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

4) We note that the introduction of GM crops have the potential to cause great damage on the biodiversity of your country, especially related to important agricultural crops used as food. We also regard this to go against the “Aichi Targets” which was adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and which Bangladesh is a member of.

5) We are certain that most farmers in your country perform sustainable agriculture and save their own seed. This will no longer be possible if you allow the introduction of genetically modified DNA that is patented and owned by large foreign corporations. Instead, farmers face an uncertain future of poverty, as they will be forced to make new purchases of GM seed each season, with a large amount of cash expenditure each year.

Thank you.

Japanese Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food & Agriculture
Consumers Union of Japan
1-9-19-207 Nishi-Waseda
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Posted May 29th, 2014 in Biodiversity, Biotechnology, Food Security, North-South, Organic Agriculture/Food

International Biodiversity Day Symposium In Tokyo, Japan

International Biodiversity Day Symposium
Is Our Food and Biodiversity OK?
Saturday 24 May, 2014

YMCA Asia Youth Center
Suidobashi, Tokyo, Japan

13:00 Meeting hall open
13:30 Greetings
13:40 Message from South Korea
13:45 Status of GMOs in the Philippines (50 min)
14:35 Bt Brinjal: Bangladesh case (50 min)
15:25 Situation in Japan (20 min)
15:45 Break (15 min)
16:00 Panel discussion (50 min)
16:50 Final comments
17:00 End

18:00 Party at Tokyo Achikoko!!


I am very happy that you found our place and know you all. Let’s keep trying to save food safety. I definitely support your activities!


Japanese Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food & Agriculture
Consumers Union of Japan
1-9-19-207 Nishi-Waseda
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Posted May 24th, 2014 in Biodiversity, Food Security, North-South, Organic Agriculture/Food