Category Archives: Civil Rights

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

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

G7 Meeting Action Day in Miyazaki

Action Day to Bring Citizens’ and Farmers’ Voices to the G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting
Date: April 23, 12:00-15:30
The G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Miyazaki Prefecture on April 22-23. What will be discussed at the meeting, what are the necessary international cooperation and political decisions, and what is needed to promote policies to protect food sovereignty in Japan? The Japan Family Farmers Movement (Nouminren) calls for your participation in the action and study exchange meeting in Miyazaki on the 23rd to promote agroecology and shift to an agricultural policy that supports small-scale and family farming in the pursuit of a sustainable society.

Stop the Food and Agriculture Crisis: Action Day to bring the voices of citizens and farmers to the G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting
Date: Sunday, April 23
Action details:
12:00-12:45: Standing action

Place: In front of Miyazaki Yamagata-ya (department store) 5 min. walk from West Exit of JR Miyazaki Station
Address: 3-4-12 Tachibanadori Higashi, Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki

13:30-15:30 Learning and exchange session Combined with online
Main presenter: Seiko Uchida (Co-president of PARC)
Naoya Matsudaira (Member of the Smallholder Agricultural Society of Japan, Representative Director of AMNet)
Toshiro Hasegawa (President, Japan Family Farmers Movement)

Press Event: Consumers in Japan Oppose Increased Military Spending

Joint statement: We, consumers, seek a peaceful society that respects life and livelihood. We oppose the possession of an enemy base attack capability (counterattack capability) and increased military expenditure.

On 6 February 2023, consumer organisations from across Japan jointly issued a joint statement opposing the Kishida Government’s proposal for a pre-emptive strike in the name of an enemy base attack and an increase in defence expenditure. The call was made by the Consumers Union of Japan and Shufuren. In response to the call, consumer organisations, co-operatives and other groups from across the country endorsed the statement, which was announced at a press conference held in Tokyo.

The fact that national and local consumer consumers across the country have expressed their opposition to the government’s proposed major military build-up shows that a sense of crisis about these government moves is gradually spreading.

On 16 December 2022, the Kishida Government made 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 Japan’s defence expenditure to 43 trillion yen. An enemy base attack capability is the capability to strike within the territory of another country. It carries the risk of a first strike, which is forbidden by international law, and is contrary to Japan’s Constitution, which states that there will be no war. Deterrence to avoid war is not a matter of enemy base attack capability (counterattack capability), but of diplomacy through dialogue.

We, 28 consumer organisations, work to solve various consumer problems that arise in our daily lives. It goes without saying once again that our activities are only possible because we are guaranteed a peaceful society. We continue to confirm the importance of pacifism in accordance with the Constitution at the National Consumer Congress, which we have held every year since 1957. Consumer cooperatives, which together with consumer organisations are responsible for Japan’s active consumer movement, have adopted the slogan ‘For peace and a better life’. Underlying this is a strong will that war must never happen again, and must not be allowed to happen.

We reaffirm that the basis of the consumer movement is to reject everything that hinders peaceful living and threatens life, and we oppose the possession of an enemy base attack capability (counterattack capability). We oppose the increased defence expenditure in Japan, seeking a peaceful society that respects life and livelihood.

6 February 2023

(Signed by 28 consumer organisations, including Shufuren, Consumers Union of Japan, Tokyo Shodanren, Kanagawa Shodanren)


Nikkan Berita:

Asahi Shimbun:

Protest Against Japan’s Military Buildup

6 February Press Conference on the Joint Statement of Consumer Organisations:

We Protest against Japan’s Military Buildup and Increased Spending on Weapons

Date and time: 6 February (Mon), 10:00-11:00

Venue: Plaza F, 3F, Shufuren Conference Room


10:00 Opening remarks and explanation on participation in Zoom (Moderator, Shufuren)

10:05 Comments on this joint statement from the calling organisations (Consumer Union of Japan and Shufuren)

10:15 Message from Kanagawa Shodanren, supporting organisation

10:20 Introduction of messages from supporting organisations (Koketsu Michiyo, CUJ)

10:25 Question and answer session

10:45 About the future

10:50 End

Zoom participation will be limited to the media and other reporters

Language: Japanese only