Japan Resources – No 173

Please click here CUJ-JR-173 for the latest issue of Japan Resources, our English newsletter.

This time, we consider large international meetings, and wonder if they are effective enough. There seems to be problems with making progress both in the areas of climate change and biological diversity.

We hope you will continue to stay updated with CUJ’s activities and news on our English website, and support our campaigns!

Contents:

Please Stop Selling Wheat Flour with Glyphosate Residue

CUJ Environment Working Group

Consumer Affairs Agency holds explanatory meeting for GM food labelling changes

What is Behind the Cheap Bananas?

Report from the COP-MOP 9 Meeting (CBD COP 14) in Egypt

New Videos on Channel Nishoren Now on Youtube!

Please Stop Selling Wheat Flour with Glyphosate Residue

17 January 2019

 

To:

Nisshin Foods

Nisshin Seifun Group

Showa Sangyo

 

Please stop selling wheat flour with glyphosate residue

Consumers Union of Japan and the No! GMO Campaign work together for safe and healthy food for all consumers.

We tested wheat flour from different companies for the residue of the herbicide glyphosate, and detected such residue in products sold by your company.

In 2015, WHO’s International Cancer Research Institute has concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” In 2016, a joint report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN said that there was some evidence of association between glyphosate exposure and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in some studies.

Our investigation found levels of residue of glyphosate in your wheat flour that was lower than the standard limit set by the Japanese government. However, studies in other countries have shown negative health effects in test animals even at such low levels.

Consumers do not want to be exposed to glyphosate. We do not want to buy or eat food made with such products. We ask that you use the precautionary principle and please stop using wheat which has been treated with glyphosate.

Consumers Union of Japan                    No! GMO Campaign

Keisuke Amagasa                                        Keisuke Amagasa

Kazuoki Oono

 

 

What Is Behind the Cheap Bananas?

“Bitter Truth of Sweet Bananas,” a DVD on the reality of the banana production in the Philippines, was released by Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC). The 78-minutes documentary film about the bananas produced for the Japanese market features the predicaments of the local banana farmers with agrichemicals aerial spraying and unfair contracts with enterprises, for example, and the futures of the initiatives to support the local farmers. PARC calls the public to see the film and “think about the relationships between Japan and the Philippines and also about the food.”

The theme of documentary is the problems on the production site relating to, for example, agricultural chemicals and contracts with large companies, and also the efforts of the local farmers to become sustainable producers and of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support such initiatives. It touches upon indigenous local peoples’ thoughts, contains interviews with partner organizations that support the expansion of fair trades, and describes the new prospects for the future. The report carefully covers the reality of the banana production site which is out of the sight of Japanese consumers who eat cheap bananas and raises a question how they should think of the agriculture of the world and the future of the food.

Ryota Murakami, a film director, filmed the documentary that is divided into three sections.

From Japan Agri News

Read more on the Pacific Asia Research Center website (J)

GM Food Labelling Changes

Consumer Affairs Agency holds explanatory meeting for GM food labelling changes

 

The Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA), in step with proposed changes in GM food labelling, has held explanatory meetings starting in Tokyo and moving on to Sendai, Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Okayama and Nagoya. CAA has also solicited opinions from the general public at the same time. The current proposed changes would lower the detection limit value (to almost zero) at which labels such as “Non-GM” or “GM soybeans not used” can be affixed to food packaging. There is strong opposition to this proposal from not only consumers but also the soybean industry, general trading companies and others.

CUJ has Started an Environmental Working Group

Much of CUJ’s work takes place in our working groups. They are the way for interested members to push for campaigns on a range of topics. The working groups are important for our office staff as a source of knowledge and inspiration for further action. Now we have started a new working group to focus on environmental issues. What kind of issues? Well, that is a good question.

At the first meeting, among the suggestions we are currently considering are microplastics, the construction of the “linear” maglev train between Nagoya and Tokyo, electromagnetic radiation, agricultural practices, and energy production (especially electricity/nuclear power) and “local production/local consumption” and its related challenges in an increasingly globalized world.

The blackout all over Hokkaido after the earthquake in September highlighted the multiple uncertainties regarding Japan’s energy system. The concentration of electric power to a single large unit has been identified as the culprit. More people are beginning to understand the benefit of “local production/local consumption” which has been a guiding principle for our work at CUJ. On the other hand, the debate has also begun regarding importing electricity from Honshu, or even from foreign countries. We need to counter such proposals by demanding that pollution and waste of energy should be factored into the debate.

At our first meeting, a college student with an interest in agricultural systems participated. We are hoping that the discussion will lead to concrete proposals how we can create “local production/local consumption” in this vital area, and confront the globalization of food. There are many other issues as well, and we invite people to become members and participate in this new working group.