Press Release: Appeal for Global Solidarity in the Movement Against Food Irradiation

A long consumer campaign in Japan, lasting 50 years, was victorious and led to the abolition of irradiated potatoes.

Date: 1 November 2023

From: Liaison Group Against Food Irradiation

To: Foreign Press 

Keywords: Irradiated food in Japan, Abolition of irradiated potatoes, Consumers’ organisations rally against food irradiation

Appeal for Global Solidarity in the Movement Against Food Irradiation

Request for Media Coverage:

Consumers’ groups in Japan declare victory over the 50-year-old Japanese irradiated food potato business closure and sends appeal to foreign countries (31 October 2023, Tokyo, Japan).

We, the Liaison Group Against Food Irradiation, have been campaigning against food irradiation for 50 years. In Japan, Shihoro Agricultural Co-operative in Hokkaido was shipping irradiated potatoes to the market since 1974, a world first. We are happy to reveal that in 2023, the Shihoro Agricultural Co-operative closed down its Isotope Irradiation Centre and has dismantled the facility.

On 31 October 2023, some 60 consumer organisations and individuals met at the House of Representatives Building in Tokyo. We called for the total abolition of food irradiation sold around the world. A rally and the “Appeal Against Food Irradiation: Global Solidarity in the Campaign to Stop Irradiated Food” was issued to consumers around the world.

Background: Irradiated food in Japan was initiated by the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission with the aim of irradiating seven irradiated food items. However, toxicity tests on these seven items showed that there were risks, and data were subsequently reported showing the carcinogenicity of the new products and the danger of induced radioactivity occurring.

Japanese consumers campaigned against the first permitted irradiated potatoes and boycotted them for 50 years. Opposition led to the suspension of permits for the remaining six products (onions, rice, wheat, sausage, mandarin oranges and kamaboko), which were intended to prevent germination, fungicide and insecticide.

The boycott method involved consumers across Japan searching for grocers and supermarkets that sold irradiated potatoes and asking them to stop selling irradiated potatoes. This request also conveyed the strong will of consumers. Many shops responded to this request and stopped selling them. As a result, the manufacturer, the Shihoro Agricultural Co-operative, reduced the volume of sales. The agricultural cooperative’s desire (that the market must be enlarged so that the research and development that had been carried out at enormous government expense would not be wasted) did not come through.

After 50 years, the Shihoro Agricultural Cooperative has decided not to renovate its ageing food irradiation facilities and to close down the production and sale of irradiated potatoes. Japan’s only food irradiation facility is now gone.

This is a victory for the 50-year campaign against food irradiation in Japan. The fact that the production and distribution of irradiated food has ceased in Japan is a significant change for the food irradiation administration in Japan and for the world. We believe that it will have a major impact.

The 31 October rally was a conduit for the total abolition of irradiated potatoes in Japan to be communicated to the world, which will lead to the total abolition of global food irradiation. We call on governments and consumers around the world to stand in solidarity for the elimination of outdated food irradiation practices.

Some foreign food suppliers have the wrong information that irradiation of food is allowed in Japan because irradiated potatoes were sold in Japan. This has led to problems with food irradiated in other countries being exported to Japan.

Japanese quarantine stations carry out spot checks of food imported from various countries. Although spot checks have their limitations, so far irradiated foodstuffs that have been found to be illegally irradiated have been found having originated in 14 countries (See table below).

We have made a request to the 14 countries through their embassies to “inform their governments that Japan has abolished irradiation of potatoes and that all irradiated food products are banned. Export violations should not continue” (Dated 9 September 2023).

In Japan, food irradiation facilities for potatoes have been dismantled and are now clear for all to see.

A long consumer campaign in Japan, lasting 50 years, was victorious and led to the abolition of irradiated potatoes.

This appeal to the world is written by consumers confirming their victory against food irradiation. Please report the attached appeal in your country’s media and transmit it to the world. Thank you. 


Media coverage in Japan: Shouhisha Shimbun: 照射食品反対連絡会、50年の活動成果を報告 国内施設閉鎖受け

(Photo) Kubota Hiroko, Japan Organic Agriculture Association


(Photo) Hokkaido Shihoro Agricultural Cooperative Isotope Irradiation Centre, office (top) and 2023 demolition site (below).

Irradiated potatoes sold with “Food irradiation” labels in shops (2022):

Information booklet about the 1984-85 Court Case and Convictions Regarding Illegally Irradiated Baby Food

From page 2 of the Opposition Liaison Group’s publicity brochure

© Copyright: Chiba Tetsuya

For more information, please contact:

1-9-19-207 Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0051

Attention: Consumers Union of Japan

Contact Email:

The Liaison Group Against Food Irradiation was formed in 2006 by the following organisations:

Shufuren (Housewives’ Federation)

Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ)

Citizens’ Committee for Food Safety and Monitoring

Tokyo Federation of Local Women’s Organisations

Japan Organic Agriculture Research Association (JOAA)

Food Irradiation Network

Health Information Research Centre

Pal System Tokyo Co-operative Society

All Japan Farmers’ Union Federation

Plus some 60 other organisations and individuals

Appendix: Cases of food hygiene law violations in Japan due to food irradiation (1996-2023):

Year of notification, Product name, Weight/Amount, Description of violation, Country of manufacture

1996 Ginseng Drink 1,400 kg, Irradiated, China

1996 Ginseng drink, 1,680 kg, Irradiated, China

1996 Processed sockeye salmon, 11,000 boxes, Irradiated, USA

1996 Pollen processed food, 165.5 kg, Irradiated, USA

1996 Powdered soft drink Baibao, 324 kg, Irradiated, China

1997 Powdered shark cartilage, 100 kg, Irradiated, Taiwan

1997 Health food NOPAL, 300 kg, Irradiated, Mexico

1997 Shark cartilage powder, 5.4 kg, Irradiated, Canada

1999 Agaricus tablets, 4.25 kg, Irradiated, Brazil

2000 Agaricus extract, 5 kg, Irradiated, Brazil

2001 Roasted guarana beans, 3,000 kg, Irradiated, Brazil

2001 Bees larvae powder, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2002 Maca powder, Unknown, Irradiated, Peru

2004 Maruja hockey shells, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2004 Herbs, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2004 Powdered Dianheshi ginseng, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2006 Soyact, Unknown, Irradiated, USA

2007 Paprika, Unknown, Irradiated, Germany

2008 Dried shiitake mushroom, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2008 Maca, 300 kg, Irradiated, Peru

2008 Dried red chillies, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2009 Dried kale powder, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2009 Dried shiitake mushrooms unknown Radiated China

2009 Black pepper, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2009 Cinnamon (spices), Unknown, Irradiated, USA

2009 Dried shiitake mushrooms, 1,550 kg, Irradiated, USA

2009 Frozen shako (baby chub mackerel), Unknown, Irradiated, China

2009 Boiled shako (chub mackerel), Unknown, Irradiated, China

2009 Dried leeks, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2009 Oolong tea, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2009 Boiled shako, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2010 Dried capsicum, Unknown, Irradiated, Thailand

2010 Dried shiitake mushrooms, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2011 Dried bean curd, Unknown, Irradiated, Thailand

2011 Dried capsicum, Unknown, Irradiated, Thailand

2011 Hacca, Unknown, Irradiated, Chile

2012 Dried radish leaves, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2013 Tea Bag Mint, Unknown, Irradiated, Brazil

2013 Cilantro, Unknown, Irradiated, Bangladesh

2013 Cumin, Unknown, Irradiated, Bangladesh

2013 Boiled shako, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2014 Tea substitute, Unknown, Irradiated, Singapore

2016 Frozen natural shrimp, Unknown, Irradiated, Vietnam

2019 Dried ginger, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2019 Frozen farmed peeled shrimp, Unknown, Irradiated, Vietnam

2019 Dried strawberries, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2020 Dried strawberries, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2020 Capsicum annuum (hot pepper powder), Unknown, Irradiated, Taiwan

2020 MARINADE POWDER, Unknown, Irradiated, Taiwan

2020 SEASONING Condiments, Unknown, Irradiated, Taiwan

2020 SEASONINGS Seasoning preparations, Unknown, Irradiated, Taiwan

2020 Paprika powder, Unknown, Irradiated, Spain

2021 Onion powder, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2022 Dried garlic (black garlic), Unknown, Irradiated, China

2022 Dried shiitake mushrooms, Unknown, Irradiated, China

2023 Shrimp (black tiger), Unknown, Irradiated, Vietnam

2023 Dried bay leaves, Unknown, Irradiated, China