Consumers Union of Japan got this very brief reply from conventional soybean growers in Hokkaido, represented by Hokuren Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives, founded in 1919 in Sapporo, Japan:
Thank you very much for your valuable comments and suggestions.
All of the agricultural products handled by the Federation are produced in compliance with the Pesticide Control Law and are used in an appropriate manner.
Thank you very much for your understanding.
This was in response to our request to cease pre-harvest glyphosate use in soybeans as well as an open questionnaire on its use (March 17, 2020)
From Consumers Union of Japan March 17, 2020.
Hokuren Federation of Agricultural Cooperative
Mr. Kazuyuki Uchida, Chairman of the Board
No! GMO Campaign
Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ)
Keisuke Amagasa, Co-Chairman
Kazuki Ono, Co-Chairman
Request to stop using pre-harvest glyphosate in soybeans as well as a questionnaire on its use
We are a consumer organization that is committed to food safety. We have taken a variety of initiatives to oppose genetically modified and genome-edited foods. We call for prudence in the use of pesticides associated with GMOs. In particular, in recent years, the toxicity of glyphosate herbicides has become apparent, and as regulations have progressed worldwide, the monitoring of these herbicides has been intensified.
The No! GMO Campaign sent you a questionnaire on October 7, 2019 regarding the application of the harvest herbicide glyphosate on soybeans, and we received an email response on the 29th of the same month. Subsequently, when our campaign conducted a residue survey of glyphosate in soybeans, glyphosate was detected in your Federation’s Hokkaido-grown soybeans.
There is widespread concern among consumers about glyphosate residues. We would like to request that you, as a Federation, instruct your member farmers to stop the use of glyphosate in soybeans before harvest.
We also ask the following questions. We apologize for the inconvenience, but please send us your response in writing by March 31. The responses will be published on the website of CUJ.
1. In your response on October 29 2019, you stated that you “will continue to raise awareness of the proper use of glyphosate in compliance with the contents of the government’s registration”, and you recommend the spraying of glyphosate before harvesting soybeans.
2, In the wake of the results in 2015 showing a direct causal link between glyphosate and cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there has been a spate of lawsuits by victims in the United States, with agrochemical company Bayer losing one case after another. Are you aware of this fact?
3. Following the lawsuits in the United States, lawsuits were filed by victims in Canada and Australia, and their use has been banned or regulated in many countries and municipalities, including EU countries. Considering such a situation, we do not think that the logic that just because the Japanese government approves of it makes much sense.
4, We, the consumers, have come to believe that domestic non-GMO soybeans are safe because many imported soybeans are genetically modified, and genome-edited soybeans are appearing in the United States. However, with the detection of glyphosate in soybeans grown in Hokkaido, there is a concern that they will no longer be safe because just because they are grown in Japan. Could you provide guidance to stop using glyphosate before harvesting? When, if at all, do you plan to give guidance on termination of the use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest herbicide? If you do not do it, please tell us why.