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What Is Behind the Cheap Bananas?

“Bitter Truth of Sweet Bananas,” a DVD on the reality of the banana production in the Philippines, was released by Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC). The 78-minutes documentary film about the bananas produced for the Japanese market features the predicaments of the local banana farmers with agrichemicals aerial spraying and unfair contracts with enterprises, for example, and the futures of the initiatives to support the local farmers. PARC calls the public to see the film and “think about the relationships between Japan and the Philippines and also about the food.”

The theme of documentary is the problems on the production site relating to, for example, agricultural chemicals and contracts with large companies, and also the efforts of the local farmers to become sustainable producers and of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support such initiatives. It touches upon indigenous local peoples’ thoughts, contains interviews with partner organizations that support the expansion of fair trades, and describes the new prospects for the future. The report carefully covers the reality of the banana production site which is out of the sight of Japanese consumers who eat cheap bananas and raises a question how they should think of the agriculture of the world and the future of the food.

Ryota Murakami, a film director, filmed the documentary that is divided into three sections.

From Japan Agri News

Read more on the Pacific Asia Research Center website (J)

GM Food Labelling Changes

Consumer Affairs Agency holds explanatory meeting for GM food labelling changes

 

The Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA), in step with proposed changes in GM food labelling, has held explanatory meetings starting in Tokyo and moving on to Sendai, Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Okayama and Nagoya. CAA has also solicited opinions from the general public at the same time. The current proposed changes would lower the detection limit value (to almost zero) at which labels such as “Non-GM” or “GM soybeans not used” can be affixed to food packaging. There is strong opposition to this proposal from not only consumers but also the soybean industry, general trading companies and others.

CUJ has Started an Environmental Working Group

Much of CUJ’s work takes place in our working groups. They are the way for interested members to push for campaigns on a range of topics. The working groups are important for our office staff as a source of knowledge and inspiration for further action. Now we have started a new working group to focus on environmental issues. What kind of issues? Well, that is a good question.

At the first meeting, among the suggestions we are currently considering are microplastics, the construction of the “linear” maglev train between Nagoya and Tokyo, electromagnetic radiation, agricultural practices, and energy production (especially electricity/nuclear power) and “local production/local consumption” and its related challenges in an increasingly globalized world.

The blackout all over Hokkaido after the earthquake in September highlighted the multiple uncertainties regarding Japan’s energy system. The concentration of electric power to a single large unit has been identified as the culprit. More people are beginning to understand the benefit of “local production/local consumption” which has been a guiding principle for our work at CUJ. On the other hand, the debate has also begun regarding importing electricity from Honshu, or even from foreign countries. We need to counter such proposals by demanding that pollution and waste of energy should be factored into the debate.

At our first meeting, a college student with an interest in agricultural systems participated. We are hoping that the discussion will lead to concrete proposals how we can create “local production/local consumption” in this vital area, and confront the globalization of food. There are many other issues as well, and we invite people to become members and participate in this new working group.

Japan Resources – No 172

Please click here CUJ-JR-172  for the latest issue of Japan Resources, our English newsletter.

This time, we wonder if there isn’t more we can all do to help fight the obvious changes in climate, that caused extreme heat and strong typhoons this year.

We hope you will continue to stay updated with CUJ’s activities and news on our English website, and support our campaigns!

Contents:

International Symposium: Report from South Korea Meeting About Labelling of GM Food

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

Essay: The Bizarre World of Plastics

Fact Sheet: Status of Genome Editing in Japan

Channel Nishoren Now on Youtube!

 

Fact Sheet: Status of Genome Editing in Japan

Fact sheet from Consumers Union of Japan

In September 2018, CUJ participated in the GMO Free Europe Conference in Berlin, Germany. One of the big topics right now is genome editing, which has called the applicability of the current regulatory framework for Genetically Modified Organisms into question. We published this fact sheet to inform others around the world about the debate in Japan.

Click here to download the pdf file.