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 held a meeting at The House of Representatives in Nagatacho, Tokyo on Thursday September 4, 2014 to discuss the upcoming UN conference about biological diversity. Consumers Union of Japan and the many groups and networks that follow these issues continue to ask questions to the government and elected representatives in the Parliament (Diet) that also care strongly about these issues.
We have participated in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conferences in Japan (2010), India (2012) and in South Korea (2014).
CUJ is criticizing Japan’s lack of progress to ratify the Nagoya Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, that was agreed upon in Nagoya in 2010 at the UN CBD conference held in that city (after very successful negotiations held in Kuala Lumpur, thus the joint name). The aim of the protocol is to aid countries in the case of disputes when there is a need to assess the liability and redress, if genetically modified organisms cause harm to the natural environment or human health.
Japan has also made little progress to address the problems with wild-growing genetically modified canola that we have found near harbours and food oil factories over the past 10 years. These GM crops pose a real risk to local biological diversity as a number of related food crops may be contaminated with GMOs.
Meanwhile, Japanese farmers have completely rejected genetically modified organisms. There is no cultivation of GMOs in Japan for commercial purposes. Very few field trials are ongoing at research institutes, which we are keeping a close eye on. Also, reports from China indicate that GM rice will not be allowed, which is great news. South Korea also does not grow any GMOs commercially.
The failure of GMO foods to catch on in virtually all parts of Asia by 2015 is a story that needs to be told to the world.
Activists around Japan are holding many events and conferences about biodiversity, as well as local study group meetings and demonstrations. We are very concerned about how genetically modified organisms can be a threat to biodiversity. CUJ has participated in the GMO-Free Zone conferences in Europe since 2008. For more details see the Planet Diversity website (in English). In November 2013 we participated in the Third World Network biosafety expert conference in Quezon City, the Philippines to discuss GM issues especially relevant for Asian countries.
From the 2010 Nagoya Campaign:
Our 2010 campaign network, Japan Citizens’ Network for Planet Diversity, is now called the Japan Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food and Agriculture (in Japanese). The Convention of Biological Diversity has implications for both wild nature and agriculture, and affects consumers in a number of ways.
We are particularly concerned with the wild-growing genetically modified canola plants that we have found at many locations around Japan on numerous occasions. The first investigations by concerned citizens started in 2004. The spilling occurs mainly near harbours and by roads leading from the harbours to food oil companies. Japan’s importing companies and food oil companies that make canola oil, as well as the transport companies involved, are all directly responsible for the contamination of native canola (including rape seed, natane). Read more about the October, 2010 Report about GM Canola Contamination in Japan. We introduced this report at a side-event at the CBD conference in Nagoya on October 12, 2010.
We have also protested against genetically modified papaya. In particular, illegal GM papaya trees were found growing in Okinawa. We highlighted the need for better legislation at the 2012 CBD conference in Hyderabad, India.
The issue is getting serious, and we call for an end to imports of genetically modified canola. Crops that can contaminate local plants should not be imported. Meanwhile, we need strict rules for liability and redress to deal with contamination issues that arise from trade with the genetically modified crops. Rules are needed and they should be legally binding with effective compliance at the local and national level.
On Sunday October 10, 2010, a number of organizations held an out-door pre-event from 10:00-16:00 at the Sakae Mochi no Ki Hiroba in Nagoya. The Planet Diversity Parade from 15:00-16:30 on that day was a huge success with over 1,000 participants!
Getting Ready For Nagoya
Since 2004, groups of volunteers have participated in activities to investigate wild-growing GM canola near roads and harbours in many locations around Japan. Of course there are many other examples of how genetic engineering and monoculture farming of GM crops will contaminate conventional and organic food production.
Japan Resources Special Biodiversity Issue
Biological Diversity & Organic Farming: 2010 was the Year of Biological Diversity and here in Japan, we prepared for the United Nations conference in Nagoya in October, 2010. In this special issue of our English newsletter you will find articles about experts and activists in Japan and from abroad with much to teach us about biodiversity and sustainable farming methods.
GM Rice And Contamination Cases Worry Consumers In Japan
Japanese consumers are strongly opposed to genetically modified foods, according to several large opinion polls.
Biodiversity In Focus: Genetic Modification Of Living Organisms Is A Threat
Christine von Weizsäcker visits Japan: Genetic modification of living organisms is a threat to biodiversity. In October 2010, an important international conference was held in Nagoya, Japan, to discuss the integrity of biodiversity, as genetic engineering threatens to influence and disturb the ecosystems around the world.
Protect Biodiversity In Nagoya
Protect biodiversity from living modified organisms at MOP5 in Nagoya!
Japan Citizens’ Network for Planet Diversity (JCNPD) is a nationwide network for citizens who are working on protecting our food crop diversity from living modified organisms.
Report From The Planet Diversity Conference In Bonn, Germany 2008
Consumers Union of Japan participated together with other Japanese NGOs at the large Planet Diversity conference in Bonn, Germany on May 12-16, 2008. It was a global congress on the future of food and agriculture, with a demonstration to celebrate biodiversity.
Other biodiversity-related links from Japan:
In Defence of Biodiversity (in English by the editors of Kyoto Journal)
Japan Forum for Biodiversity (“CBD Shimin Net” in Japanese)
Bio Journal (Citizens’ Biotechnology Information Center)
2010 International Year of Dugong (Saving the Dugong in Okinawa)
A Seed Japan (Several projects, including Access and Benefit Sharing)
FoE Satoyama Project (Focus on Japan’s agricultural homelands)