Monthly Archives: December 2022

2022 We Decide What We Eat CUJ Videos

It has been a great year. It ended with two United Nation Conferences, about Climate Change, and Biological Diversity. Consumers Union of Japan is covering it. Thanks for supporting us.

This is how we made our voice heard, Tabekime Campaign, everyone participated, how we chose what to eat, not the corporations deciding. We, the consumers. We decide, what we want to eat. World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16 October, as designated by the United Nations.

How about it?

Videos from our Channel here:



Blog: Breaking Bread (CBD COP15)

Blog: Breaking Bread

The expression “Breaking bread” describes an ancient way of sharing food in a friendly way. It means to share a meal with others, and make sure everyone is fed. It is a term used in the Bible, and must have been common in the Middle East and Europe, when bread was made from rye, and harder than today.

I thought about this expression as I was following the final moments of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity, as they decided on how to share the benefits of biodiversity. Congo was unhappy with the final deal, the Framework, as it feels it will not get enough from the developed countries. Adoption of the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework is a step forward, but it really does not seem that there is strong will to change things. We wanted it to be tough on New GMOs and stop the spread of gene-drives and genome editing.

“We have in our hands a package which I think can guide us all to work together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss,” said Huang Runqiu, the Chinese president of COP15.

We should “break bread” with everyone, and share the benefits of biodiversity, without doing more harm to nature.

Japanese here

COP15では2030年までの新たな目標「昆明モントリオール目標」が採択されました。これは一歩前進ですが、本当に物事を変えようという強い意志があるようには思えません。New GMOを厳しく規制し、遺伝子ドライブやゲノム編集の普及を阻止してほしかったです。

Continue reading Blog: Breaking Bread (CBD COP15)

How About It, World, Do We Care About Biological Diversity, Or Not?

Consumers Union of Japan and other groups that we work with, including the No! GMO Campaign, have a focus on the global negotiations to protect biological diversity.

We participated in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conferences in Japan (2010), India (2012) and in South Korea (2014). We followed the 2022 conference in Montreal, Canada.

We are disappointed about the lack of urgency on new genetic technologies, such as gene-drives and genome-editing, and no progress on pesticides, which we know cause real harm. And why does the United Nation still not recognise the role consumers can play when given the information, and labelling? The concerns raised by civil society organisations working on the issues of synthetic biology and biotechnology remain unresolved.

We wanted a biotechnology related target to establish a process for horizon scanning (finding out what is going on), technology assessment (finding out what is really going on) and monitoring (finding out what is being done). It should also consider socioeconomic impacts of synthetic biology. We think this reinforces the need for a global moratorium on the environmental release of gene drives.

This was our hope for Target 17 but we got nothing like it. We are especially disappointed that all mention of “precaution” has been erased from Target 17.

Consumers Union of Japan

Please contact Michiyo Koketsu or Martin J. Frid for details about our work.

BBC Interview (UK/World)

ABC News (Australia)

Mail & Guardian (Africa)

“Consumers Union of Japan started the No! GMO Campaign in 1996, ” says Michiyo Kotetsu, CUJ. “There is no commercial farming of GMOs in Japan, but a lot of soy, corn and canola is being imported. We think the labelling should be better so consumers can avoid GMO food.”


Consumers Union of Japan has signed the global appeal to stop gene drives:

Gene drive technology uses new genetic engineering techniques including CRISPR/Cas9 to forcibly spread genetically engineered traits, including lethal ones, throughout entire populations and species of organisms. Once released into the environment, gene drive organisms cannot be recalled nor controlled thus preempting and overriding the ability of nations.

The company that has long reigned at the center of this domination has been the U.S. company Monsanto. For this reason, citizens around the world have been marking this day as Anti-Monsanto Day. Monsanto has now been absorbed by Bayer AG of Germany.

The campaign, Millions against Monsanto has now become Billions against Bayer.

New genome-editing technology foods have also been introduced here in Japan by local companies. We are very concerned that such efforts contradict the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and Codex Alimentarius rules regarding food safety.

We understand that in the Philippines, the cultivation of GM Yellow Rice is currently being pushed forward. In Japan, the application of genome-edited rice is also under consideration. In addition to seed domination, we regard these technologies as a direct threat to biodiversity and our food security.

We call this our strong international kizuna, the firm emotional bond of solidarity that connects us. This is how we promote our efforts to resist the schemes by multinational corporations and governments. We are really happy that the farmers and consumers of the Philippines and other Asian countries and Japan are working together in this way. If citizens around the world are connected through kizuna, we believe it is possible to stop the cultivation of GM rice and New GMO rice varieties.

Stop Gene Drives

Consumers Union of Japan has signed the global appeal to stop gene drives:

Gene drive technology uses new genetic engineering techniques including CRISPR/Cas9 to forcibly spread genetically engineered traits, including lethal ones, throughout entire populations and species of organisms. Once released into the environment, gene drive organisms cannot be recalled nor controlled thus preempting and overriding the ability of nations, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and future generations to take their own decisions.

Gene drives work against natural rules of inheritance forcing nearly 100% instead of the usual 50% of offspring to inherit their genetically engineered traits. Whereas existing bio­safe­ty systems are designed to limit the spread and persistence of living modified organisms to mitigate against adverse impacts, gene drives are intended to spread genetic modifications to alter species and ecosystems. This would undermine the integrity of the UN Cartagena Protocol and international and national biosafety systems, including the procedures for Advanced Informed Agreement (AIA) of countries and Free, Prior and Informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Read more here, and learn about this New Genetic Technique, that should be regulated and banned. Media in Europe is already covering the campaign, link here.


Promoting Organic School Lunches in Japan

Report on the Special Forum for the Promotion of Organic School Lunches all over Japan

By Koa Tasaka, CUJ

The forum was held on 26 October in Nakano, Tokyo. Over 1100 persons attended physically, and over 1800 joined on-line. In addition, 62 satellite places were set up all over Japan, with some 700 persons joining such events. Among those who attended in the main hall, there were 33 City Mayers including Mr. Ohta, Isumi City Mayor who has spear-headed the effort to introduce organic school lunches in his city. Nine Members of Parliament also attended. I attended the meeting as one of the organizers, and I found many persons I know in the hall such as Mr. Keisuke Amagasa of Consumers Union of Japan and representatives from the Civil Institute of Organic Rice Cultivation.

The program included reports by experts from France and South Korea, along with videos on the activities of school lunches with organic food from various places in Japan. There was a panel discussion as well as presentations by Prof. Nobuhiro Suzuki, Tokyo University, and by Ms. Seiko Uchida, representative of PARC. Ms. Yae, a singer and organic farmer, sang Amazing Grace at the end of the meeting before the declaration for promoting organic school lunches was announced. In addition, there were short speeches by representatives from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Agriculture, which is significant since these ministries will have to do something positive to promote school lunches with organic ingredients after giving speeches in front of so many people.

As a chemist, I know that the bread provided for everyday school lunches in Japan is made from imported wheat, which is highly contaminated with pesticides such as malathion, sumithion, or reldan. Recently, imported wheat from US has been found to be contaminated with glyphosate (Roundup) as well.

Japan’s Ministry of Education has disclosed a statement that over six percent of Japanese school children have some mental problems, without discussing the cause of these problems. Although it is not possible to prove it, mental problems among children may be related to the chemical contamination of school lunches. That is the reason why I am involved with the movement to replace school lunches using bread made from imported wheat to organically grown rice and vegetables. In that sense, I am very happy to see the development of the school lunch system in Japan with organically produced foods. I really hope that this movement develops further, so that children can grow in good health all over Japan!