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.
We would like to highlight the interesting reports in The Ecologist about pesticide use in Japan. Phil Carter, a freelance environmental journalist, explores how broad-spectrum pesticides used mainly at rice paddy fields are harming insects and the environment:
Chemical companies are taking advantage of Japan’s weak laws on pesticide use by selling a wide variety of broad-spectrum pesticides for use in rice farming, including neonicotinoids banned in other countries.
But other pesticide types with similarly devastating effects on aquatic ecosystems continue to be sold and promoted, such as Trebon, a synthetic pyrethroid sold by Mitsui Chemicals, and Prince, containing fipronil, a phenylpyrazole sold by BASF.
Simultaneously, a worldwide insect extinction event is ongoing in which broad-spectrum insecticides are implicated as a leading cause.
Japanese rice fields are losing aquatic insects such as iconic autumn darter dragonflies that use the flooded fields in the nymph part of their lifecycle. The resulting pollution of rivers and lakes has also led to the collapse of the fishery in Lake Shinji in Shimane Prefecture, which scientists have connected to neonicotinoid use in surrounding rice fields.
The process of removing dangerous pesticides from use is an arduous one, with companies like Bayer fighting bitterly to continue sales of each product both in court and with campaigns to discredit any critical scientific studies. In recent years, this scorched-earth approach has led to environmental groups focusing their energies on neonicotinoids, eventually achieving bans on some products in the European Union.