All posts by fridfrid

Face-to-face Courses

Blog: Realising the Benefits of Face-to-face Courses (27 July 2023)

Japanese here:

Since Covid-19 was reduced to a Category 5 infectious disease, face-to-face study meetings and gatherings have gradually increased. On 1 July 2023, the general meeting of the East Japan Liaison Group for Clean Water and Life was held face-to-face for the first time in four years. A study session was held with Associate Professor Harada Sadao of Doshisha University speaking on the theme “Plastic in the Ocean” Seeing the lecturer’s facial expressions and hearing his voice, I think the participants realised the advantages of face-to-face lectures. It was also invigorating for some of the participants to see each other for the first time in a long time, and to confirm that they are continuing their activities.

Online meetings, which were popularised during the Covid-19 Pandemic, are useful for many people to participate and spread the word about different issues. I think they will be used even more in the future. But why not also hold face-to-face study meetings? In my opinion the role of Japan’s local consumer centres is not only to provide advice on complaints. I think they could also respond to consumer requests for study groups and small meetings.

Do try making a request to hold a course on something you want to know or learn about at your local office.

Topics include fragrance pollution, food additives, food labelling, electromagnetic device pollution, de-plasticised lifestyles, artificial grass, genetically modified foods (GMOs), genome-edited foods and even food tech such as insect foods. For advice on lecturers, please make use of the CUJ Lecturers’ Group. You may unexpectedly meet someone close to you who is dealing with the same issues.

By Sazaki Miyoko, Co-chair of CUJ

PFAS Artifical Turf at Your School?

Artificial plastic turf, PFAS chemical pollution in Japan, how about it? Join us to stop it.

Japanese here

Artificial turf is on the increase on playing fields, but also in school yards, children’s playgrounds and private gardens.

Plastic green space has attracted attention as a source of large amounts of microplastics, but it is not the only problem.

PFAS (organofluorine compounds) have been found in groundwater and river water in many parts of Japan above the national provisional guideline values and have become a social problem.

It has been pointed out that PFAS is also leaching from artificial turf.

Furthermore, the filler (rubber chips) used to make artificial turf elastic also contains substances that are carcinogenic and have an environmental hormone effect. Despite calls for a ‘plastic-free’ society, the number of dangerous plastic products continues to increase.

Following in the Footsteps of CUJ’s Founder, Naokazu Takeuchi

Blog: Food is not a Commodity – Healthy Life for the Future

Japanese here:

(June 22, 2023)

Members of the CUJ steering committee held a meeting to exchange opinions after reading “Food is not a Commodity – Healthy Life for the Future” by Takeuchi Naokazu, the 1969 founder of Consumers Union of Japan.

The title of this book expresses well the thoughts of Mr. Takeuchi, who was involved in the activism consumer movement in the 1970s. This was an age of environmental pollution when Japan was known as the “pollution archipelago.”

CUJ was vocal in criticizing corporations on issues such as food, cosmetics, and detergents.

Takeuchi’s book also describes the “pillars of our movement,” such as the non-political approach in terms of each individual theme, and the fact that CUJ receives no support from corporations, and that we are financially independent through membership fees and subscriptions.

As a student at the time, I first met Mr. Takeuchi at a rally for the Anti-Nuclear Week 1977. In response to the local struggle to prevent nuclear power plants from being built, Mr. Takeuchi advocated a joint anti-nuclear action by consumer groups and residents’ groups in Tokyo, a major consumer of electricity.

In the more than 50 years since the formation of Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ), I frankly feel that we have done very well to continue our activities to this day with the support of our many members.

Our consumer movement refuses to accept anything that hinders peace and threatens our lives and livelihood.

I am convinced that we must continue to pass this message on to the next generation over the next 10, 20, and 30 years…

By Kamiyama Ado

60 Years and More, for Japan’s Nuclear Reactors? No Thanks!

We Protest Against the Kishida Administration’s Passage of the GX Bill to Promote Nuclear Power

6 June 2023

Click here for original Japanese text

On 31 May 2023, the Green Transformation (GX) Decarbonization Power Source Bill, which will allow nuclear power plants to operate for more than 60 years, was passed and enacted in Tokyo, Japan. This happened at a plenary session of the House of Councillors by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, as well as Isshin no Kai, and others. This legislation bundles together five bills amending the Basic Act on Nuclear Energy, the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Act, the Electricity Business Act, the Reprocessing Act, and the Renewable Energy Special Measures Act.

In July 2022, the Kishida administration established the GX Executive Council with the aim of realizing a decarbonized society, and in response to the Basic Policy for Realization of GX – Roadmap for the Next 10 Years released by the Council in December, the GX decarbonization bill was submitted to the Diet in February 2023 to legislate the basic policy.

In reality, the bill is not about a green transformation at all. It is an attempt to force a major change in the existing policy of reducing dependence on nuclear power as much as possible by restarting nuclear power plants, building new nuclear power plants, extending the operation period of aging nuclear power plants, and strengthening support for the nuclear power industry.

Consumers Union of Japan is strongly opposed to this legislation.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, it became clear to everyone that we cannot coexist with nuclear power plants. With the opinions of the overwhelming majority of citizens and residents as a backdrop, the Innovative Energy and Environment Policy was formulated under the Democratic Party of Japan administration to realize a society that does not depend on nuclear power plants at an early stage, which stated that “no new nuclear power plants will be built” and “the maximum operating period of nuclear power plants will be 60 years. On the surface, the Abe and Kan administrations have followed this policy.

However, the Kishida administration, after a short and formal deliberation and study that lasted only six months or so, abandoned the previous policy and took a sharp turn in the direction of bailing out the declining, so-called Nuclear Power Village, a money-laden combination of industry, academia, and government.

We must never forget the fact that a huge number of residents suddenly lost their hometowns as a consequence of the Fukushima nuclear accident, and many are still forced to live in painful evacuation shelters and are unable to return to their hometowns. The revision of the law is a disregard for the lessons learned from the accident.

In Germany, nuclear power plant phase-out was achieved in April this year, without being distracted by the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Consumer Union of Japan strongly protests the Kishida administration’s shift in nuclear power policy. We also express our determination to move forward together with consumers, citizens, and many others toward the early realization of a nuclear power free society.

Read more:

Beyond Coal: Japan’s Cabinet approves policies to implement GX, NGOs respond


The GX Basic Policy is to promote, in the name of carbon neutrality, the use of nuclear power, hydrogen and ammonia co-firing with fossil fuels, and carbon capture and storage (CCS). It has been criticized by NGOs like Kiko Network as “prolonging the life of coal-fired power generation, hindering the promotion of necessary climate change measures such as the buildup of renewable energy, and eventually decreasing the global competitiveness of Japanese industries while increasing the burden on citizens through rising energy costs”. Co-firing hydrogen and ammonia with thermal power plants has only a minor effect on CO2 emission reductions, and CCS is far away from practical use. Rather, these technologies will fix large amounts of long-term CO2 emissions by extending the life of fossil fuel thermal power plants. The roadmap under this policy is far from the reductions required to achieve the 1.5°C target.

Japan Resources – 189

Please click here for our latest English newsletter (pdf): JR 189


From the Editors: Over 90 Consumer Organisations Have Signed Our Peace Appeal!

Symposium: Let’s Connect Citizens for Peace in Asia! Peace Action by Japan, Korea and Taiwan

90 + Support For Our Consumer Peace Effort

GM Zucchini Found in South Korea: How about Japan?

Action Day to Bring Citizens’ and Farmers’ Voices to the G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to Stay GM Free

Open Letter of Inquiry on Artificial Turf

In the News: Corteva’s Genome-Edited Maize Not Commercially Cultivated at Present

From the Editors: Over 90 Consumer Organisations Have Signed Our Peace Appeal!

Consumers Union of Japan and Shufuren Association of Consumer Organizations, took the initiative to protest against Japan’s proposal to increase its military spending. Over 90 groups including many local co-operatives have now joined together. It is a pretty impressive movement!

For our Annual Meeting on 18 June we have invited speakers from Taiwan and South Korea, who share our views on peace in this region of the world. You can join us in Tokyo or follow the Peace Action online.

– Editors