Monthly Archives: May 2023

Japan Resources – 189

Please click here for our latest English newsletter (pdf): JR 189


From the Editors: Over 90 Consumer Organisations Have Signed Our Peace Appeal!

Symposium: Let’s Connect Citizens for Peace in Asia! Peace Action by Japan, Korea and Taiwan

90 + Support For Our Consumer Peace Effort

GM Zucchini Found in South Korea: How about Japan?

Action Day to Bring Citizens’ and Farmers’ Voices to the G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to Stay GM Free

Open Letter of Inquiry on Artificial Turf

In the News: Corteva’s Genome-Edited Maize Not Commercially Cultivated at Present

From the Editors: Over 90 Consumer Organisations Have Signed Our Peace Appeal!

Consumers Union of Japan and Shufuren Association of Consumer Organizations, took the initiative to protest against Japan’s proposal to increase its military spending. Over 90 groups including many local co-operatives have now joined together. It is a pretty impressive movement!

For our Annual Meeting on 18 June we have invited speakers from Taiwan and South Korea, who share our views on peace in this region of the world. You can join us in Tokyo or follow the Peace Action online.

– Editors

GM Zucchini Found in South Korea: How about Japan?

In April, a South Korean civil society organization informed us here in Japan, that unapproved genetically modified (GM) zucchini had been found to be distributed in South Korea and that the government had initiated a recall.

Unapproved GM zucchini had been grown and sold in South Korea for seven years beginning in 2015. According to reports, GM zucchini seeds approved in the United States were imported and sold by a Korean company.

Consumers Union of Japan sent a letter of inquiry to MAFF on 11 April, asking whether GM zucchini is checked at the time of importation in Japan, how much zucchini and seeds are imported from the US, and more.

In Japan, there was an incident in 2011 in which unapproved GM papayas were cultivated in Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures. It appears that GM papaya seeds developed in Taiwan were somehow mixed with non-GM papaya seeds, but the details remain unknown. In Okinawa, 8,000 unapproved GM papayas grown at the time were cut down; farmers who grew the papayas without knowing they were GM papayas were unable to ship them that year, but received no income compensation from the government or other sources, only replacement seedlings were distributed.

Also in 2017, there was an uproar over the recall of seeds when it was discovered that unapproved GM petunias were being sold.

We note that GM crops can easily cross borders and enter the country. In addition to calling on governments to take strict border measures, monitoring activities by citizens in each country are also important. Do let us know if you have similar cases in your country!

International Peace Symposium 18 June 2023

Let’s Connect Citizens for Peace in Asia!
Peace Action by Japan, Korea and Taiwan

Fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as the “Taiwan contingency” that the Japanese government has suddenly brought up, more and more people seem to think that Japan’s defense forces need to be strengthened. Can war be avoided by possessing a large number of weapons? Japan’s current state of increasing military spending and becoming a war-making nation may be seen as a threat, especially to Asian countries. Consumers Union of Japan, which rejects all threats to life, hopes to protect peace in Asia and, by extension, in the world through dialogue rather than military force.

This year, for our annual symposium, CUJ is honoured to invite speakers from South Korea and Taiwan to discuss what we can do as consumers and citizens in solidarity to prevent war and to create a society where people can live in peace. The symposium will be held both on-site and online. Please join us.

Link to Japanese

Introduction of Speakers:
Mr. Joo Young-Ho
Musician, peace and human rights activist. Member of the peace activist group “World Without War” and a member of “Mob Sul Band,” a musical solidarity group of activists and artists.

Ms. Hwang Chia-lin
Executive Director of Daihyang Food Education Association. Co-founder of the GMO-free School Lunch Campaign in Taiwan; Secretary General of the Taiwan Housewives Federation from 2012-14.

Ms. Makiko Kawamura
President of the Housewives’ Federation of Japan. Served as deputy secretary general for the campaign to establish a consumer affairs bureau. Co-chair of the Net for Realization of a New Accident Investigation Agency.

Mrs. Michiyo Koketsu
Secretary General of Consumers Union of Japan. She has been working on the issue of genetic modification and genome editing with citizens’ groups in Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan, as well as in Europe and the U.S.

Date: 18 June, 2023 (Sun.) 13:30-16:30

Venue: Conference Room 201, 2F, Rengo Kaikan (3-2-11 Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
Access: Short walk from Exit B3 of the Shin-Ochanomizu subway station, 5 min. from Seibashi Exit of the Ochanomizu JR station.
Map of the venue→
Online participation is also available.

(Photo) 6 February 2023 Press Conference on the Joint Statement of Consumer Organisations:
We Protest against Japan’s Military Buildup and Increased Spending on Weapons

90 + Support for our Consumer Peace Effort

We, consumers, demand a peaceful society that respects life and livelihood.

We oppose the possession of an enemy base attack capability (counterattack capability) and increased defense spending.

Please support us!

Over 90 consumer organsations and co-ops locally and all over Japan have signed on so far. Thank you for supporting our Consumer Peace Effort.

On December 16, 2022, the Kishida administration passed a cabinet decision to revise the “Three Security Documents,” including the National Security Strategy. The “Three Security Documents” clearly state the policy of possessing an “enemy base attack capability (counterattack capability)” and increasing defense expenditures to 43 trillion yen. The “enemy base attack capability” is the ability to strike within the territory of an adversary, which is prohibited by international law.

Consumer organizations work daily to solve various consumer problems and have different areas of expertise. However, our activities are possible only with the guarantee of a peaceful society. If the Peace Constitution were to be disregarded, consumer rights such as “the right to the basic needs of life,” “the right to safety,” and “the right to work and live in a healthy environment” could be shaken. In order to prevent such a situation from arising, we believe that it is significant for consumer groups to join together and raise their voices.

We have decided to ask consumer groups and other citizen groups to endorse the attached “Joint Statement.” The names of the organizations that endorse this statement will be listed in the joint statement. We ask for your cooperation in endorsing the statement. (Please see the bottom of this page for the Joint Statement and endorsing organizations.)