TOKYO — As the world witnessed record heat this summer and rain disasters become more frequent, thousands of people joined a climate protest event here on Sept. 18, calling for a society powered 100% by renewable energy with stricter climate policies and no nuclear power.
The gathering, part of the “climate action” protests worldwide, was organized by the youth group Fridays for Future Tokyo and others. The Tokyo version featured a panel discussion and live music performance at Yoyogi Park in Shibuya Ward. The organizers said a total of some 8,000 people participated in the event and protest march from the park to Shibuya Station, with signs that read, “No to fossil fuel” and “Passing Earth to the next generations.”
An increasing number of municipalities around Japan have recently started to use organically grown rice, vegetables and other ingredients in school lunches in primary and secondary schools. Citizens are also increasingly calling for organic ingredients to be used in school lunches, and various initiatives have been launched in various parts of the country.
Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ) considers that the inclusion of organic food in school lunches is not only good for children’s health, but also protects the environment and the producers, including local farmers. In order to further expand this trend, the initiatives of municipalities that are already using organic food (not only JAS standards) can be helpful.
We decided to conduct a survey of progressive municipalities in various regions. See below for the content of the survey in English:
Q: What is the population of your municipality and how many primary and secondary schools provide school lunches and how many students are served?
Number of Primary Schools Serving Pupils
Number of Junior High School Serving Pupils:
Q: Please circle the relevant school meal preparation method. (1) Own school system by school (2) Centre-based system (3) Combination of own school system and centre system
School lunch costs
Q: What is the average cost per meal? Primary school: Yen______________ Junior high school: Yen______________
About your organic school lunches
Q: When did you start using organic ingredients for school lunches? Since year (e.g. 2020):
Q: How often do you serve organic school lunches each year?
Q: How often (in total days) are organic school lunches served? Days per year:
Q: What organic ingredients do you use? Please circle all that apply and write the name of the ingredient for others: Staple food: rice, bread (wheat etc.), noodles, other: Vegetables: onions, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, radishes, other: Meat: beef, pork, chicken, other: Drinks: milk, fruit juice, green tea, other: Fruit: apples, tangerines, grapes, bananas, strawberries, other: Seasonings: miso, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, oil, sake, mirin, other: Please specify any other organic ingredients not listed above:
Q: What proportion of the total school lunch is made up of organic ingredients (in monetary terms)? Rice %, wheat, barley %, vegetables %, meat %, drinks %, fruit %, seasonings %.
Q: How do you procure your organic ingredients? Please circle the relevant procurement method and ingredients. (1) Directly from municipal farmers: rice, wheat, vegetables, meat, drinks, fruit, other: (2) From municipal agricultural organisations: rice, wheat, vegetables, meat, drinks, fruit, etc. (3) From other sources: rice, wheat, vegetables, meat, drinks, fruit, other:
Q: How did you come to use organic food? Please circle the relevant number. Please describe any others. (Multiple answers allowed) (1) Residents’ (parents’) demands, (2) Producers’ demands, (3) Councilors’ demands, (4) Commitments by the head of government, (5) Nutrition teachers’ and cooks’ demands, (6) Other:
Please send your reply to email@example.com
Ito City School Lunch Campaign (20 July to 12 August 2023) Poster:
In April, a South Korean civil society organization informed us here in Japan, that unapproved genetically modified (GM) zucchini had been found to be distributed in South Korea and that the government had initiated a recall.
Unapproved GM zucchini had been grown and sold in South Korea for seven years beginning in 2015. According to reports, GM zucchini seeds approved in the United States were imported and sold by a Korean company.
Consumers Union of Japan sent a letter of inquiry to MAFF on 11 April, asking whether GM zucchini is checked at the time of importation in Japan, how much zucchini and seeds are imported from the US, and more.
In Japan, there was an incident in 2011 in which unapproved GM papayas were cultivated in Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures. It appears that GM papaya seeds developed in Taiwan were somehow mixed with non-GM papaya seeds, but the details remain unknown. In Okinawa, 8,000 unapproved GM papayas grown at the time were cut down; farmers who grew the papayas without knowing they were GM papayas were unable to ship them that year, but received no income compensation from the government or other sources, only replacement seedlings were distributed.
Also in 2017, there was an uproar over the recall of seeds when it was discovered that unapproved GM petunias were being sold.
We note that GM crops can easily cross borders and enter the country. In addition to calling on governments to take strict border measures, monitoring activities by citizens in each country are also important. Do let us know if you have similar cases in your country!
We, consumers, demand a peaceful society that respects life and livelihood.
We oppose the possession of an enemy base attack capability (counterattack capability) and increased defense spending.
Please support us!
Over 90 consumer organsations and co-ops locally and all over Japan have signed on so far. Thank you for supporting our Consumer Peace Effort.
On December 16, 2022, the Kishida administration passed a cabinet decision to revise the “Three Security Documents,” including the National Security Strategy. The “Three Security Documents” clearly state the policy of possessing an “enemy base attack capability (counterattack capability)” and increasing defense expenditures to 43 trillion yen. The “enemy base attack capability” is the ability to strike within the territory of an adversary, which is prohibited by international law.
Consumer organizations work daily to solve various consumer problems and have different areas of expertise. However, our activities are possible only with the guarantee of a peaceful society. If the Peace Constitution were to be disregarded, consumer rights such as “the right to the basic needs of life,” “the right to safety,” and “the right to work and live in a healthy environment” could be shaken. In order to prevent such a situation from arising, we believe that it is significant for consumer groups to join together and raise their voices.
We have decided to ask consumer groups and other citizen groups to endorse the attached “Joint Statement.” The names of the organizations that endorse this statement will be listed in the joint statement. We ask for your cooperation in endorsing the statement. (Please see the bottom of this page for the Joint Statement and endorsing organizations.)
It has been a great year. It ended with two United Nation Conferences, about Climate Change, and Biological Diversity. Consumers Union of Japan is covering it. Thanks for supporting us.
This is how we made our voice heard, Tabekime Campaign, everyone participated, how we chose what to eat, not the corporations deciding. We, the consumers. We decide, what we want to eat. World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16 October, as designated by the United Nations.