Every year at this time of the year, I feel depressed. It’s the time of year when aerial pesticide spraying for rice stink bug control takes place. After a few years of living in rural areas, I’ve seen one aspect of the dwindling number of farmers. They have to rely on aerial spraying to save labor. There are many elderly people who don’t want to use herbicides who can’t cope with the vigorous growth of weeds, so they are dependent on them.
Not only in the town where I live, but also in neighboring towns and villages, young people are leaving for the big cities, and those who are engaged in farming are mostly in their 70s or 80s. The number of abandoned fields is increasing year by year due to the lack of manpower, so fields are in disrepair. Satoyama (mountainous farm areas) are no longer maintained, and damage from monkeys, deer and wild boars is increasing.
Most urban residents think that they can get food at convenience stores and supermarkets anytime, but due to the effects of the new corona virus pandemic and climate change, the number of countries exporting food to Japan may decrease dramatically in the future. I really wonder what will happen to Japan then, as our food self-sufficiency rate is only 37%. Large cities with “dense” populations and rural areas that are exhausted by the outflow of population… I can only hope that the unbalanced distribution of human beings in this country will be restored through the pandemic.
Have you ever heard of Neonics (Neo-nicotinoid insecticides)? Even though it is getting banned in EU and throughout the world because of its danger to human health, it is used in Japan. Children’s lives, nature and Japanese agriculture must be protected. This is why Coop Shizenha, choose to be Neonics-free.
You can reduce your exposure by adopting an organic diet – do watch the videos.
Translation by Tasaka Koa, Consumers Union of Japan
Over the past three years Consumers Union of Japan has campaigned against harmful perfumes and irritating fragrances. Many people have lobbied schools, offices and public spaces to stop using any such artificial substances, that can cause headaches, allergic reactions and a range of other symptoms.
This year, we published a questionnaire and got over 9000 replies regarding this campaign. We found that 79% felt they have experiences problems due to perfumes and fragrances. And 18.6% of those who replied have had such strong reactions that they could not attend school or work. We strongly feel this shows the urgent reality of this matter and will continue to raise awareness. You can help by ordering our 68 page booklet and print out our posters, that you can use to educate those around you (in Japanese).
As part of our ongoing work to get rid of the herbicide glyphosate (active ingredient in Roundup and several other herbicides) the No! GMO Campaign wrote to all major railway companies in Japan early in 2020. Many people are concerned about the spraying of this cancer-causing chemical to kill weeds along train tracks. And several railway companies have revealed in their environmental reports or sustainability reports that they are trying to reduce the use of herbicides. Unfortunately, none of the railway companies replied to our letter and did not answer our questions. As part of our campaign, we also asked the railway companies, including JR, Odakyu Line, Keio Line, Seibu Line and others to completely stop using glyphosate.
When we wrote to them a second time this spring, only a few companies replied:
JR East Japan: We do not reveal the names of individual herbicides that we use
Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP) issued the following criticism of the 10 Billion US Dollar payout to victims of glyphosate poisoning:
Penang, Malaysia—Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP) today said that corporate accountability and justice for victims of glyphosate poisoning is still wanting, after agrochemical giant Bayer’s more than $10 Billion settlement of 95,000 suits filed by glyphosate users in the US.
Considered as among the largest settlements ever in US civil litigation, the payout however contains “no admission of liability and wrongdoing” by Bayer’s Monsanto, manufacturer of RoundUp (glyphosate). Glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, is the subject of thousands of lawsuits for its link with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. It is included in PAN International’s list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) that are targeted for global elimination or phase-out.
The settlement includes $1.25 billion for potential future claims from Roundup customers who may develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A so-called “independent” panel of scientists will be set up to decide whether Roundup causes cancer—however, Bayer will be involved in selecting such a panel. The settlement also allows for Bayer to continue selling RoundUp without safety warnings. Some 30,000 individuals have refused to become part of the settlement.