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.