All posts by mashimot

Protect Biodiversity in Nagoya


Protect biodiversity from living modified organisms at MOP5 in Nagoya!

Read updates here: Nagoya 2010

Japan Citizens’ Network for Planet Diversity (JCNPD) is a nationwide network for citizens who are working on protecting our food crop diversity from living modified organisms.

We started this network in order to act on the United Nations’ major meeting to be held in Nagoya, October 2010, for the Protocol on Biosafety (also called Cartagena Protocol) which regulates the international trade of organisms modified by modern biotechnology (living modified organisms).

We want the meeting in Nagoya to define rules to protect consumers and the environment. The rules will be a crucial element of the global regulations regarding the integrity and continued sustainable use of living organisms under threat from certain risky applications of modern biotechnology.

Make binding global rules!

The Cartagena Protocol was adopted as a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It sets forth procedures for the transport, handling, and use of living organisms modified by modern biotechnology (LMO) that have the potential to adversely affect biodiversity. The protocol specifies regulations on cross-border transfer of modified living organisms developed with biotechnology, such as genetically modified agricultural seed, food products, and microorganisms. Such regulations are needed because of the possibility that LMOs can exert adverse effects on other living organisms. Continue reading Protect Biodiversity in Nagoya

Cloning: The Real Problem In Japan


By Yasuaki Yamaura

In April 2008, Japan’s Food Safety Commission (FSC) was asked by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour to make an assessment of the safety of food from cloned animals. Somatic cell cloning has recently emerged as an issue also in Japan, and on February 29, 2009, a special assessment group on cloned animals set up in the FSC’s Expert Committee announced that such food was safe.

On March 24, 2009, the Food Safety Commission once more discussed this topic. However, it became clear that there were a number of unresolved issues and serious problems related to this technology. CUJ raised several questions at this meeting. We were told that in Japan, some 1,240,000 cows are slaughtered annually, and among them approximately 720,000 have some defects or show symptoms of disease. The officials reluctantly admitted that in such cases, the lesions or sick parts are simply removed, and the rest of the carcass is used for food. Clearly, we must assume that the same practice will continue also in the case of sick cloned animals. Continue reading Cloning: The Real Problem In Japan

To what level could Japan’s food self-sufficiency recover?

A quantitative analysis based on the Food Demand-Supply Table, the Guideline of Nutritional Requirement for the Japanese people, and the Local Production-Local Consumption principle


Paper presented at the World Foodless Day in Tokyo, October 16, 2008

The current world-wide food crisis has made it clear that the low Japanese food self-sufficiency ratio is the underlying cause of various food-related problems. As one of the fundamentals for our survival, food is more and more dependent on foreign political and commercial trends that are beyond our control. Also Japan hunting for food in other countries contributes to the tension on world food trade markets and tends to raise international food prices. Japan’s food mileage, the world’s highest, reaching 910 billion ton-km in total, and 7,110 ton-km/capita annually [1], is adding a large amount of CO2 into the global atmosphere. This paper looks at ways to improve Japan’s food self-sufficiency from the consumer perspective.

Demand-side Approach

Motivated by a number of concerns, we attempted a quantitative analysis on to what level Japan’s food self-sufficiency could recover. For this purpose, we used a static model based on the Food Demand-Supply Table (a statistic published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery), the Guideline of Nutritional Requirement for the Japanese (published by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour), and the Local Production-Local Consumption principle.

Japan’s food self-sufficiency ratio is estimated to be around 40% in 2007. Several estimates of Japan’s potential food self-sufficiency have already been made, but in general, they have focused mainly on the supply-side, assuming selectively that the demand-side of food remains out of the policy scope. However, one of the main factors causing our low food self-sufficiency can be attributed to the over-consumption of meat and fat, items that are unsuitable for the Japanese farming conditions [2].

That is why we asked, “What if the Japanese dietary habit changed to one more healthy and more suitable for domestic production?” To do this, we decided to create a model on the basis of the demand-side approach, starting with our food consumption patterns, followed by the domestic food production efforts adapted to these patterns.

Three Patterns of Food Consumption

The first food consumption pattern we took as a model is a set of food intake and nutritional data recommended by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour. This pattern has been created as the ideal for Japanese people to maintain their health, avoiding lifestyle-related sickness (MHWL pattern). The second pattern is a set of food requirements based on the daily meal menus organised specifically for our model by Setsuko Shirone, an expert of sustainable food consumption and organic agriculture. Let us call this Chisan-chisho pattern (LP-LC pattern), after a popular movement that encourages local production and local consumption in Japan.

Figure-1 shows the differences of the consumption of each food-group or item per day per person compared with the status quo (as of 2005). According to the MHWL pattern, the ingestion of grains, potatoes and vegetables would increase, while consumption of meat, milk products, sugar and fat would drastically decrease. Turning our attention to the LP-LC pattern, we note that this tendency is even more radical. The exception is the high amount of marine products intake that is still considered to be possible; all of this, however, consists of small fish and coastal fish, as well as continued consumption of other domestically available marine species.


Continue reading To what level could Japan’s food self-sufficiency recover?

How genetically modified foods are accelerating the food crisis

Here is the presentation made by Keisuke AMAGASA, Chairperson of NO! GMO Campaign, as one of the programs at the World Foodless Day held in Tokyo on October 16, 2008.

Good afternoon. In my brief presentation, I would like to summarise the present state of genetically modified (GM) crop and food in 13 points, referring to their relationship to today’s food crisis.

1. The farmland planted with GM crops is continuously expanding in the world.

Most of the GM-planted farmland is located in North and South America, with the United States accounting for about half of the global total GM-planted area. The number of countries cultivating GM crops remains limited. This is because GM crops are concentrated in regions that are dominated by Monsanto and/or closely involved in the U.S. food strategy. On the other hand, countries free of these influences also remain free of GM crops.

Continue reading How genetically modified foods are accelerating the food crisis