Monthly Archives: June 2013

Energy Reform Symposium

What Will Happen With The Electric Utility Law Revision?
June 20, 2013 Symposium

Japan is debating the future of its electric power system. A special committee at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry made recommendations for reform in February, 2013, and a bill to revise parts of the Electric Utility Law was submitted to the Parliament after a Cabinet decision in April. However, there is concern that the bill has watered down many of the proposals. It is doubtful if the bill can be enacted during the current session of the Parliament and we sense dark clouds gathering over the anticipated reform, which had just started to look promising.

After the earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11, 2011 we face a situation where parts of the country have been so contaminated with dangerous radioactivity due to the meltdown at the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi that it is impossible for people to live there. Society rapidly needs to be converted into relying on a wide range of power sources including wind, solar, cogeneration, etc., in addition to large-scale expansion of energy-saving efforts. This is the time for structural reform of the electric power system, and we need to move forward on creating a realistic work schedule to make this happen.

Civil society supports the Electric Utility Law revision. In this symposium, we will debate electric power reform and discuss its merits for consumers, as well as learn about the design of the electricity market. We will also hear from energy consultant Yamada Hikaru about the current situation in Europe and North America.

Organizers: e-Shift (Association for Nuclear Power Phase-out and New Energy Policies) / Consumers Union of Japan / Electric Power Reform Project

Date: June 20, 2013 (17:00-19:30)
Place: House of Representatives Multipurpose Hall, Tokyo (衆議院第二議員会館)
Subway: Nagatacho or Kokkaigijidoumae st.
Entrance: 500 Yen

(Japanese only)

About e-Shift

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Japan’s Consumers Say “No” to GM Wheat

Tokyo, Japan June 4, 2013

Press Release:
Stronger Inspection System Needed for American Wheat

Unapproved genetically modified (GM) wheat has been found in Oregon, U.S. The No! GMO Campaign and Consumers Union of Japan have written to Japan’s Ministry of Health and to the Ministry of Agriculture on June 4, 2013, urging the government to make sure that this GM wheat does not enter Japan. “The GM inspection system at the time of import should be strengthened immediately so that no GM wheat will enter Japan,“ says Amagasa Keisuke, chairperson of the No! GMO Campaign, which was founded in 1996 as the first GM crops were grown in North America, including GM soy and GM corn.

Although Monsanto Co. was testing GM wheat in 16 states from 1998 to 2005, including in Washington, Nevada, and Kansas no permission was ever given for commercial cultivation. USDA says it does not understand the reason why GM wheat has appeared or how much it has spread, or to what extent it is now present in the U.S. It is not impossible that such GM wheat has been exported to Japan. “We ask the Japanese government to urgently investigate if GM wheat is found in Japan,” notes Amagasa Keisuke.

The No! GMO Campaign and Consumers Union note that Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have opted for the import suspension of wheat from Oregon. There is a possibility that the GM wheat in question was mixed with wheat grown in Oregon. This shows the urgent need to further tighten up the GM inspection system conducted at the time of import so that GM wheat may not enter Japan.

Amagasa Keisuke, No! GMO Campaign
Consumers Union of Japan
Nishi-Waseda 1-9-19-207
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo