Tag Archives: pesticide

Japan Resources – 187

Please click here for our latest English newsletter (pdf)JR 187


From the Editors: It Is All Connected

Report on the Special Forum for the Promotion of Organic School Lunch all over Japan

Growing Movement to Prevent Distribution of Genome-Edited Tomato Seedlings to Elementary Schools and Welfare Facilities

Public Comment: Ban 30 Substances in Pesticides

Press Release: “We Decide What We Eat Ourselves”

In the News: Over 11 years, close to 9 million people sign drive against nuclear power

From the Editors: It Is All Connected

This year ends with COP15 of the UN conference for biological diversity. We hope media will follow it as much as they did the recent COP27 of the UN conference for climate change.

In fact, these two global issues are interconnected and linked in many ways, that also influence us as consumers (and we, as consumers, can – and should – influence).

For example, by increasing the local and organically farmed food served to school children, Japan could go a long way to contribute to both mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity.

Some 3600 people all over the country are ready to make it happen, according to Koa Tasaka’s report from the Special Forum held in Tokyo this fall.

Please stay updated with CUJ’s activities and news on our English website, as well as on our English Twitter account: https://twitter.com/consumerunionjp/



Public Comment: Ban 30 Substances in Pesticides

Pesticides used in agriculture can contain many ingredients that are not well known and may be unsafe to humans and the environment. 
Proposed Ministerial Order to Prohibit 30 Substances of in Pesticides

Mr. Tetsuro Nomura, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

To: Agricultural Safety Management Division, Consumption and Safety Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

20 October 2022

From: Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ)

Co-Chairperson: Ado Kameyama

Co-Chairperson Miyoko Sasaki

Co-Chairperson Martin Frid

Regarding the Proposed Ministerial Ordinance to list and ban the use of 30 auxiliary ingredients of agricultural chemicals in the Standards for Refusal of Registration under the Agricultural Chemicals Control Law:

We, Consumers Union of Japan, are a consumer organization working for the safety of food and agriculture, and the safety and security of our daily lives. We believe that there are several problems with the Ministerial Ordinance to Provide for Cases Specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of the Environment under Article 4, Paragraph 1, Item 11 of the Pesticide Control Act (12 October 2022), which was presented by the Ministry and for which public comments were solicited.

We hereby petition for reconsideration and improvement as follows:

1. Proposal to Include 30 Auxiliary Ingredients of Agricultural Chemicals in the Criteria for Refusal of Registration

(1) CUJ is opposed to the proposal to include 30 auxiliary ingredients of pesticides in the Criteria for Refusal of Registration if they account for 0.1% or more of the total weight of the pesticide. We demand that none of them shall be detected and that their use in small quantities also be prohibited.

(2) CUJ opposes the enforcement date of 1 October 2025. If the law comes into effect three years later, some of the pesticides (preparations) currently on the market will contain these 30 auxiliary substances, and they will still be on the market. This could lead to a “rush to market” by manufacturers and distributors, and the continued use of pesticides even though it is known that they contain toxic auxiliary ingredients. The ministerial ordinance should be enforced immediately after its enactment.

(3) In addition to including these 30 auxiliary ingredients in the Standards for Refusal of Registration, we demand that the Standards for Refusal of Registration be applied to pesticides containing these ingredients that are currently being sold and used, and that all pesticides containing these 30 substances be promptly suspended or prohibited from use. This should result in their immediate recall from the market, and the cessation of their use, including in farmers’ inventories. It is unacceptable for pesticides containing toxic auxiliary ingredients to continue to be released into fields and the environment (It is well known that pesticides cause air pollution, soil contamination, and pollution of rivers, lakes, marshes, and the sea). A total ban on the use of pesticides (preparations) containing these auxiliary ingredients themselves should be promptly adopted.

(4) CUJ is opposed to the transitional measures that will allow registration until the enforcement date, that will allow the registration of pesticides using these banned auxiliary ingredients, as well as their sale and use until their expiration date (generally said to be 5 years). Under the five-year grace period, pesticides containing 30 carcinogenic and other toxic ingredients will continue to be sold and used for almost five years. It cannot be denied that these 30 auxiliary ingredients are carcinogenic, chronically toxic, and having toxic effects known as endocrine disrupters or environmental hormones even at trace amount levels. They should be enforced immediately without transitional measures.

(5) CUJ demands that the trade names of the pesticides (formulations) currently on the market (including farmer-retained products) that use the 30 auxiliary ingredients be listed and made public immediately. The current labeling on pesticide containers and packaging only lists type and amount of auxiliary ingredients. With descriptions such as “surfactant” or “emulsion” as the type, it is not possible to determine whether these 30 toxic chemicals are included or not. The “right to know”, “right to choose”, and “right to be safe” of users, consumers, and citizens who may be exposed to pesticides when using them, such as farmers, users in non-farming areas, home gardeners, and residents living near areas where pesticides are sprayed, should be ensured.

(6) CUJ demands that all applicable pesticides (formulations) be required to display a warning label with product names.

(7) CUJ demands that administrative guidance to encourage the recall and suspension of the use of these products be thoroughly strengthened as mentioned above.

2. Future Criteria for the Refusal of Registration and Review of Agricultural Chemicals

(1) The 30 auxiliary ingredients of pesticides proposed this time are substances with extremely high toxicity, such as carcinogenic substances, which will be included in the Standards for Refusal of Registration based on scientific data, and their use will be prohibited. We request that the toxicity of auxiliary ingredients other than the 30 substances be promptly investigated and that substances with relatively high or moderate toxicity be promptly included in the Criteria for Refusal of Registration.

(2) In the Materials to be submitted in applications for registration of agricultural chemicals (17 August 2021), the materials to be submitted as Test Results on Effects on Humans are still mainly related to active ingredients of the pesticide ingredients, and the overall toxicity of the pesticide (preparation) is not included. Thus the overall toxicity of the pesticide (formulation) is limited to acute toxicity. Test results for auxiliary ingredients are not required to be submitted. In the future, we request that test results on chronic toxicity, carcinogenicity, neurotoxicity, developmental neurotoxicity, etc. of pesticides (preparations) be included in the submission materials, paying attention to the toxicity of auxiliary ingredients as well.

(3) We should not use chemicals that require gas masks in the cultivation process of producing food. On the other hand, with regard to many pesticides, such as neonicotinoid pesticides and organophosphorous pesticides, for which there is already scientific evidence showing health effects and a ban on their use has been suggested, the precautionary principle should be proactively adopted. CUJ is of the opinion that highly hazardous pesticides and substances that may be endocrine disrupters should be promptly banned.

Original post (in Japanese):



Kick the Pesticide Industry Out of FAO!

Consumers Union of Japan is one of the 430 civil society and indigenous peoples organizations from 69 countries who signed the letter to the FAO Council to end the agency’s partnership with the pesticide industry (CropLife International)! Pesticide Action Network is submitting the letter to the FAO Council in Rome, Italy today, 9 June 2022.

Letter (pdf) here: English-CSO-and-IP-Letter-to-FAO-Council-RE-Ending-CLI-Partnership


New Booklet: Glyphosate

CUJ and the No! GMO Campaign have published a new booklet about the dangerous herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other brands. Written by Amagasa Keisuke, it outlines the recent events including lawsuits in the US and new data about the toxic effects. Here in Japan, residue of glyphosate has been found in bread made with imported wheat.
















The booklet also exposes how in 2017, the Japanese government increased the legal residue levels in many foods:

Wheat flour: From 5 => 30 parts per million (ppm)

Rye wheat flour: From 0.2 => 30 ppm

Soba flour: From 0.2 => 30 ppm

Corn: From 1 => 5 ppm

Canola: From 10 => 30 ppm

In Japan, many soybean farmers are using glyphosate-based herbicides including Roundup as a pre-harvest chemical, in order to dry the crops while they are still maturing. CUJ and the No! GMO Campaign have been successfully campaigning to get soybean farmers in Hokkaido to stop this practice. In other countries, especially in North and South America, farmers are growing crops that are genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. In Japan, there is no commercial farming of such GM crops, but imported feed and food oils often contain GM ingredients such as GM soy, GM corn or GM canola (rapeseed). Look for the label on products including soy, such as tofu, soy sauce and natto if you want to avoid GM ingredients that can contain glyphosate residue.










The 64 pages booklet is in Japanese. You can order it here:





Request to Stop Using Pre-harvest Glyphosate on Soybeans


JA Toyama Prefecture


No! GMO Campaign

Consumers Union of Japan                                                                                25 August 2020


Request to stop using pre-harvest glyphosate on soybeans

We are a consumer organization working for food safety. We are engaging in a number of initiatives to oppose genetically modified foods and genome-edited foods and demand prudent use of the herbicides and pesticides associated with them. In recent years, we have strengthened our monitoring of glyphosate herbicides, especially in light of the recent revelations of their harmfulness and the progress of global regulations.

In the midst of this situation, we were informed that the glyphosate was detected in soybeans and processed foods shipped from your prefecture’s JA plant. Glyphosate is a suspected carcinogenic with other toxic effects. We are concerned to learn that it is being sprayed as a wilt agent before the wheat harvest in North America and that pre-harvest spraying is being carried out on soybeans here in Japan as well. We are concerned that the spraying of harmful pesticides has a high risk of harming the health of farmers, and that spraying just before harvest can lead to significant residues in the harvest. While the Pesticide Control Act allows for the application of herbicides and pesticides in the field of soybeans prior to harvest, the purpose of using glyphosate is solely for weed control. We believe it is illegal to use glyphosate for soybean wilt or to use them in such a way that they affect the soybeans.

We, as consumers, used to think that domestic soybeans were safe because many imported soybeans are now genetically modified and new genome-edited soybeans have appeared in the United States. However, we are concerned that the detection of glyphosate in domestically produced soybeans may make it impossible to say that such soybeans are safe because they are domestically produced.

We would like to ask you to instruct your prefecture’s JA to stop using glyphosate in soybeans prior to harvest, and ask the following questions. We would like to ask you to respond in writing by 8 September. We plan to publish your answers on our website.


  1. Have your prefecture’s headquarters ever advised JAs in your prefecture to recommend or allow spraying with glyphosate before the harvest of soybeans?
  1. Do you know whether or not your prefecture’s JAs apply glyphosate before the harvest of soybeans?
  1. Are you aware that in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer evaluated glyphosate as a possible carcinogen for humans, and that in the United States, a large number of plaintiffs have won lawsuits against glyphosate manufacturers?
  1. Could you instruct JA in the prefecture to stop using glyphosate before harvest? When, if at all, will you instruct them to stop? If not, please tell us why you will not do so.