Category Archives: Japan Resources

Japan Resources – No 165

Please click here cuj-jr-165 for the latest issue of Consumer Union of Japan’s English newsletter, Japan Resources (pdf). The theme this time is safe & sustainable development, to highlight the need for those involved in production to better live up to consumers’ high expectations. We have also participated in events for peace and democracy, and will step up our efforts to reach out and raise awareness both abroad and at home.

We also share the story of how one small country, Bhutan, is aiming for 100% organic food production, truly a great idea and an inspiration.

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


From the Editors: Safe & sustainable development!

CUJ co-signed Joint Open Letter calling on UNIQLO to guarantee labour rights in its supplier in Cambodia

Global Focus on Fighting against Antibiotic Resistance

Stop Using Antibiotics for Farm Animals: Questionnaire


Bhutan Aiming for 100% Organic Agriculture by 2020


Japan Resources – No 164

Please click here: CUJ-JR-164 for the latest issue of Consumer Union of Japan’s English newsletter, Japan Resources (pdf). The theme this time is to highlight the 20th anniversary of the No! GMO Campaign.


From the Editors: Japan’s Anti-GMO Campaign

Event: Petition Campaign for Better Labelling of Genetically Modified Food

Event: Supporting Japanese Non-GM Soybeans

From Bio Journal:

  • GMO-Free Zone National Conference Held in Sendai
  • Ministry of the Environment releases a draft of its revised Cartagena Law

20 Years of Anti-GMO Work

Anti-GMO parade in Yokohama, March 3, 2002 during the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius meeting
Anti-GMO parade in Yokohama, March 3, 2002 during the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius meeting


Five Years after the Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima

Epidemiological Studies Show a Rapid Increase in the Occurrence Rates of Thyroid Cancer


Japan Resources No 162

Here is Japan Resources, the online magazine from Consumers Union of Japan. We started this service back in the 1980s as a photo-copied effort to spread information about current issues in Japan, in English. We hope you help spread it to friends and colleagues. Do quote our articles and use them – we enjoy your feedback and appreciate the concern earlier this spring when the CUJ website was down, as we changed server to a more consumer-friendly company!

– Editors

Please download Japan Resources JR 162 (pdf file) January-July 2015

CUJ Resolutions

“Function Claims” Not the Same as Actual Benefits for Consumers

GMO Free Zone Meetings

Fair Finance Japan

Symposium & Documentary Film Events

Japan’s Booming Tourism Industry Needs a Reality Check

Japan’s Booming Tourism Industry Needs A Reality Check

To be a tourist in Japan can be both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. There is a lot to discover and many truly beautiful places to visit. For people who come to Japan for the first time, the delicious food is always one of the highlights, even if most menus are still only printed in Japanese. Oh well, sometimes sign language and a nice smile will save the day. And a little confusion can be a fun story to tell, at a later date.

However, the Japanese government seems hell-bent on further increasing the number of foreign tourists, without any concern for the real problems.

Popular places like Nara and Kyoto suffer from severely over-crowded roads. Even near the most famous temples and shrines, there are no efforts to ban cars and facilitate pedestrian safety. Last fall I was surprised to see thousands of visitors stand in line to get to see the illumination at Kiyomizu Temple, while taxis and even large coach buses were trying to reach the same spots on the narrow slopes. It wasn’t chaotic, but if an emergency had happened, there would have been no way for an ambulance or fire trucks to arrive.

Tokyo has the only proper tourist information center to cover all of Japan, located in a small office near Tokyo Station, and while their website is very good, most tourists prefer to use guidebooks written by foreigners. Smaller offices elsewhere are understaffed and can’t deal with all kinds of requests. For over 13 million foreign visitors arriving to Japan in 2014, that is clearly not enough. But the government seems hell-bent on counting heads (and revenue) rather than really considering the consequences.

Tourism is a service industry with very direct consumer issues. Hotels that don’t have non-smoking rooms, or restaurants with poor service, can ruin the experience of an expensive over-sea trip. For example, how are tourists supposed to know that there is almost no space for suitcases on the Shinkansen? Many promises are made that cannot be kept, but there seems to be nowhere to turn with legitimate complaints.

(English version of Martin’s essay published in CUJ’s Shouhisha Report No. 1569)