Category Archives: North-South

Blog: Breaking Bread (CBD COP15)

Blog: Breaking Bread

The expression “Breaking bread” describes an ancient way of sharing food in a friendly way. It means to share a meal with others, and make sure everyone is fed. It is a term used in the Bible, and must have been common in the Middle East and Europe, when bread was made from rye, and harder than today.

I thought about this expression as I was following the final moments of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity, as they decided on how to share the benefits of biodiversity. Congo was unhappy with the final deal, the Framework, as it feels it will not get enough from the developed countries. Adoption of the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework is a step forward, but it really does not seem that there is strong will to change things. We wanted it to be tough on New GMOs and stop the spread of gene-drives and genome editing.

“We have in our hands a package which I think can guide us all to work together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss,” said Huang Runqiu, the Chinese president of COP15.

We should “break bread” with everyone, and share the benefits of biodiversity, without doing more harm to nature.

Japanese here

COP15では2030年までの新たな目標「昆明モントリオール目標」が採択されました。これは一歩前進ですが、本当に物事を変えようという強い意志があるようには思えません。New GMOを厳しく規制し、遺伝子ドライブやゲノム編集の普及を阻止してほしかったです。

Continue reading Blog: Breaking Bread (CBD COP15)

How About It, World, Do We Care About Biological Diversity, Or Not?

Consumers Union of Japan and other groups that we work with, including the No! GMO Campaign, have a focus on the global negotiations to protect biological diversity.

We participated in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conferences in Japan (2010), India (2012) and in South Korea (2014). We followed the 2022 conference in Montreal, Canada.

We are disappointed about the lack of urgency on new genetic technologies, such as gene-drives and genome-editing, and no progress on pesticides, which we know cause real harm. And why does the United Nation still not recognise the role consumers can play when given the information, and labelling? The concerns raised by civil society organisations working on the issues of synthetic biology and biotechnology remain unresolved.

We wanted a biotechnology related target to establish a process for horizon scanning (finding out what is going on), technology assessment (finding out what is really going on) and monitoring (finding out what is being done). It should also consider socioeconomic impacts of synthetic biology. We think this reinforces the need for a global moratorium on the environmental release of gene drives.

This was our hope for Target 17 but we got nothing like it. We are especially disappointed that all mention of “precaution” has been erased from Target 17.

Consumers Union of Japan

Please contact Michiyo Koketsu or Martin J. Frid for details about our work.

BBC Interview (UK/World)

ABC News (Australia)

Mail & Guardian (Africa)

“Consumers Union of Japan started the No! GMO Campaign in 1996, ” says Michiyo Kotetsu, CUJ. “There is no commercial farming of GMOs in Japan, but a lot of soy, corn and canola is being imported. We think the labelling should be better so consumers can avoid GMO food.”


Consumers Union of Japan has signed the global appeal to stop gene drives:

Gene drive technology uses new genetic engineering techniques including CRISPR/Cas9 to forcibly spread genetically engineered traits, including lethal ones, throughout entire populations and species of organisms. Once released into the environment, gene drive organisms cannot be recalled nor controlled thus preempting and overriding the ability of nations.

The company that has long reigned at the center of this domination has been the U.S. company Monsanto. For this reason, citizens around the world have been marking this day as Anti-Monsanto Day. Monsanto has now been absorbed by Bayer AG of Germany.

The campaign, Millions against Monsanto has now become Billions against Bayer.

New genome-editing technology foods have also been introduced here in Japan by local companies. We are very concerned that such efforts contradict the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and Codex Alimentarius rules regarding food safety.

We understand that in the Philippines, the cultivation of GM Yellow Rice is currently being pushed forward. In Japan, the application of genome-edited rice is also under consideration. In addition to seed domination, we regard these technologies as a direct threat to biodiversity and our food security.

We call this our strong international kizuna, the firm emotional bond of solidarity that connects us. This is how we promote our efforts to resist the schemes by multinational corporations and governments. We are really happy that the farmers and consumers of the Philippines and other Asian countries and Japan are working together in this way. If citizens around the world are connected through kizuna, we believe it is possible to stop the cultivation of GM rice and New GMO rice varieties.

Message from Michiyo Koketsu, CUJ


My name is Michiyo Koketsu, and this year’s message for the TABEKIME Campaign is again from the field. As the Secretary General of Consumers Union of Japan, I feel strongly about this topic!

My T-shirt reads, “Defend Our Rice! Fight For Our Rights”. I received it from MASIPAG, an NGO against genetically modified rice in the Philippines. I wear it as a gesture of solidarity to MASIPAG and to my colleagues who are fighting against the domination of food by multinational corporations in the world.

I decide what I eat.
I decide what I make.
Not for big corporations.


How to Participate:
Please take a picture of yourself, the food you want to protect, or the production site of the food you want to protect, and post the picture together with your message board in the following way. You can post as many photos as you want. The message board can be downloaded from the following pdf link. You can use the official name laid out (English version) or you can write your own message on the board. Post your photo(s) using this Facebook link:

Here are pdf files that you can print out and use to take your photo(s):


Tabekime blank

Stop Genetically Modified Trees!

Consumers Union of Japan has signed the statement urging Forest Stewardship Council to maintain its strong ban on genetically modified trees.

FSC prohibits FSC member companies from using genetically modified (also known as genetically engineered) trees for commercial purposes, in certified or non-certified areas. However, FSC allows associated companies to conduct research field tests of GM trees in non-certified areas, a decision that has already allowed companies to advance their GM trees development.

Learn More

You can also sign the FSC petition here! (Before 5 October 2022)

The Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees notes that FSC has launched a “genetic engineering learning process” that proposes to directly overseeing selected field tests of GE trees. FSC is developing its own “governance model” of “safeguards” that it will ask companies to comply with when they run these field tests.

The effort to permanently stop GE trees is reaching a critical stage. It is essential to have a broad network of organizations, grassroots groups, alliances, and coalitions that are informed and mobilized to spread the word about the GE tree threat to their constituencies and activate them on the issue.

The mission of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees is to protect forests and biodiversity, and provide support to communities threatened by the dangerous release of genetically engineered trees.

The Campaign is an alliance of national and international organizations with the goal to ban the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.


We Will Not be Complicit in War, We Will Not Let it Happen

We will not be complicit in war, and we will not let it happen.

Taking advantage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Japanese government has announced plans to maintain an “enemy base attack capability” and to increase defense expenditures to more than 2% of GDP *.

Under Article 9 of the Constitution, which clearly states the renunciation of war and the non-retention of military forces, a major shift is about to take place in Japan’s policy of defending itself exclusively against invasion.

Since the Abe administration took office in 2012, the Secret Protection Law, the Security Law, and the Conspiracy Crime Act have already been passed, overcoming opposition from citizens, to bring about a wartime regime.

Finally, there is a growing movement to revise the Peace Constitution itself.

We are determined not to be complicit in any war and not to let any war happen, and we will appeal against war together with those who are fighting in their own spheres of life.

*This is twice the 1% of GDP ratio that has been used to halt the war so far, amounting to about 11 trillion yen, or 10% of the national budget.

Yoko Sugiura, Editor-in-Chief of CUJ magazine