Monthly Archives: September 2010

Japan Resources No 151

CUJ JR 151 (pdf) Japan Resources No 151

After a long, record-hot summer, temperatures have dropped again to more normal levels here in Nishi-Waseda, Tokyo. At the same time, our work to prepare for the COP10/MOP5 biodiversity conference in Nagoya is heating up…

Feel free to download the pdf file and print it for your library.

– Editors

Recent Food Activism in Japan
CUJ: Annul and Scrap the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement
We Oppose the Introduction of Full-Body Scanning at Japan’s Airports
CUJ: Local Energy Production For Local Energy Consumption
CBIC Closeup: Is It Necessary To Slaughter Cattle And Pigs That Have Foot-and-mouth Disease?
Getting Ready for Nagoya
Planet Diversity Forum

Getting Ready For Nagoya

Food and agriculture that protect biological diversity: Aiming for a world without GMO (Image from Kagoshima prefecture

Consumers Union of Japan and other groups that we usually work with, including the No! GMO Campaign, has focus on the MOP5 negotiations to be held in Nagoya in October 2010 about biological diversity. Our network is called Japan Citizens’ Network for Planet Diversity, with a website: (in Japanese). You can also follow CUJ’s English website for updates at

During 2010 we have held a number of events and conferences, as well as local study group meetings. We are very concerned about how genetically modified organisms can be a threat to biodiversity. Since 2004, groups of volunteers have participated in activities to investigate wild-growing GM canola near roads and harbours in many locations around Japan. Of course there are many other examples of how genetic engineering and monoculture farming of GM crops will contaminate conventional and organic food production.

We hope to raise awareness about the problems by organizing a side event on October 12, 2010 in the building where the UN negotiations will take place. We are also organizing several events to discuss the on-going negotiations with guests and experts from Japan and other countries.

On October 10 (Sunday), we are holding an out-door pre-event with Japan Forum for Biodiversity from 10:00-16:00 at the Sakae Mochi no Ki Hiroba in Nagoya. There will be a Planet Diversity Parade from 15:00-16:30 on that day followed by a Forum on October 11 from 9:30-16:40. Finally, on October 16, will sum up the results of the MOP5 negotiations at an event from 13:00-17:00 at Wink Aichi Hall 1102.

For our foreign friends and supporters, the pre-event in the park on Sunday on October 10 and the Forum on October 11 (Monday) will perhaps be the most interesting. Among the speakers on October 11 will be Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, Australian anti-GMO activist Julie Newman, Norwegian expert on Mexican maize David Quist, and special guests from South Korea and The Philippines, who will talk about GMO-free zones and the Asian campaign against GM rice. Speakers from Japan include Amagasa Keisuke from the No! GMO Campaign and Kawata Masaharu, who has led the efforts to expose GM canola contamination around Japan.

We hope Nagoya will give real results both inside the negotiation hall and outside among citizens, who want to help protect our food and our farming by thinking locally and globally about genetic resources. The theme for our actions is “Food and agriculture that protect biological diversity: Aiming for a world without GMO.” Hope to see you in Nagoya!

October 11, 2010 101011 Planet Diversity Forum Eng (pdf)

CBIC Closeup: Is It Necessary To Slaughter Cattle And Pigs That Have Foot-and-mouth Disease?

The foot-and-mouth disease turmoil in Miyazaki Prefecture, involving the continual slaughter of livestock, has finally ended. Many people expressed their doubts about whether it was necessary to slaughter livestock over such a large area. This is a perfectly natural emotion from the point of view of the feelings of the general public. Doubts were also cast about why, if there is no problem consuming the meat and given the waste involved, these burdens were forced upon the farmers and such large compensations were necessary.

Honorary Professor of the University of Tokyo, YAMAUCHI Kazuya has spoken of the developments that led to the slaughter of livestock suffering from foot-and-mouth disease. According to Professor Yamauchi, foot-and-mouth disease first became established as an endemic disease in Britain and brought about a great loss to farmers there. From 1892 it was decided to introduce the method of slaughtering all the livestock in the surrounding area as a countermeasure. In the epidemic of 1920, however, the number of animals due to be slaughtered was too large, and some of the animals began to recover before their turn to be slaughtered came around, causing doubts about the slaughter method to become widespread among farmers. It became clear that animals could gain immunity from foot-and-mouth disease and recover naturally. Farmers began to express the opinion that if the animals would recover naturally there was no necessity to slaughter them, and this argument was advanced in parliament. However, when put to the vote, it was decided to continue the slaughter method by a slim majority.

What we can infer from the above is that foot-and-mouth disease is a disease from which animals can recover, and further that the slaughter method lacks scientific grounds and was adopted on the basis of a political decision by a majority decision in parliament.

In addition, this decision was internationalized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE – formerly known as the Office International des Epizooties). The OIE was established in 1924 as an international organization overseeing animal diseases and formulates international standards for animal hygiene and so on from its HQ in Paris. In 1957, the OIE drew up a treaty for the prevention of foot-and-mouth disease, adopting the slaughter method.

Under the Livestock Infectious Disease Law, which entered into force in Japan in 1951, it became compulsory for cattle and pigs that have contracted foot-and-mouth disease to be forcibly slaughtered. Stud bull farmers in Miyazaki Prefecture resisted the slaughter order to the end, but the state decided to proceed with forcible slaughter. From the state’s point of view this was an executive measure based on law and there was absolutely no margin for the acceptance of the farmers’ commonsense judgment.

The issue is that, with the advance of globalization, there is no longer any country that can escape foot-and-mouth disease, and it is therefore necessary to find a mechanism to enable coexistence with the disease. In order to do this, it is first necessary to abolish the out-of-date slaughter method, which places a burden on the farmer and which kills animals unnecessarily.

(First published by Citizens’ Biotechnology Information Center (CBIC) in Bio Journal, September 2010)