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Come and Visit Kiso River, the Water Tastes Great, it is a Fun Place

We coined the phrase “The upper area of the Kiso River thinks about the lower area, while the lower area appreciates the upper area.” With this in mind, we started co-operating in 2008 engaging in different joint activities. Already more than 10 years have gone by. Each year I visit Kiso more than 20 times. I don’t think of it as sightseeing and I don’t plan to move there. What is so attractive about the upper part of the Kiso River? My motivation to go there is that it feels just like going to meet a person.

One annual project is wooden toy making. This involves third grade high school students at a school in the upper Kiso River area, who make toys that we make available at the Nagoya City Science Museum. We have found that kids really enjoy these toys.

I am always impressed by the sensitivity and fresh approach by these high school students. It is interesting to talk to them and hear them describe their efforts. It is a fun time. This year, three of the students are working hard with the project. I really enjoy meeting the people who live and work in the upper Kiso River area.

Another project that has been going on for 10 years is growing soybeans in fields where the Kiso River has its source. Through this project, consumers can feel a connection with the farmers and get to know their faces, in addition to making the area everyone’s favourite place. We make miso from the soybeans which are made with ingredients from the Koike Koji Store in Kiso Town.

I feel I have developed as a person thanks to these relationships. “Happy values” can be discovered. “People move, stuff moves, and the heart moves,” thanks to the relationships between the upper Kiso River area and the lower area all the way to Nagoya City and Ise Bay from Nagano, through Gifu, Aichi and Mie Prefectures.

By Kawasaki Norio, CUJ Board Member


Almost Half a Million Signatures Supporting Our Gene-Editing Petition


Dear Everyone,                                                                                       Date: 14 February 2020

In 2019 Consumers Union of Japan started a petition campaign and collected signatures demanding regulation of all gene-edited foods. Here are the results of the initial stage of the campaign which we have now ended.

From May 2019 to November we collected no less than 447,725 signatures in support of the petition. We did not reach our target of 1 million signatures, but we feel strongly that almost half a million signatures in such a short time is a great success, especially since almost no one in Japan seems to have heard of gene-editing or genome editing.

We organized an event at the Japanese Parliament Building on 30 January 2020 and had the opportunity to hand over the signatures to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of the Environment and the Consumer Agency. We made sure that everyone’s personal data was protected.

From abroad, we collected signatures from Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Brazil and Taiwan, in addition to 13 organizations and 10 researchers and university professors. We are very grateful for everyone’s cooperation and support.

However, in spite of almost 450,000 signatures being presented to them at the event, the  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare continued to argue that gene-editing is not genetic modification and thus does not need regulation or safety assessment, ignoring its effects on the natural environment.

In the same way, the Consumer Agency is ignoring the call for mandatory labelling of gene-edited foods, arguing that they are indistinguishable from mutations that may happen in the natural world.

Many consumers, however, are deeply unhappy with this state of affairs. We are saying, “We do not want to eat food which is the result of gene-editing and genetically modified organisms which have been created by the use of such technologies.” And we are demanding both safety assessment and mandatory labelling of such foods.

It is believed that gene-edited food was allowed to enter Japan by October 2019, but so far, they do not seem to go on the market. We cannot be entirely sure about this since there has been no safety assessment and no mandatory labelling.

Our movement is strong and we will continue to demand regulation of gene-edited food and mandatory labelling.

We also appreciate your continued support.


Michiyo Koketsu, Secretary General, CUJ

Martin J Frid, International Committee, CUJ

Consumers Union of Japan

Website: http://www.nishoren.org/en/

Address: Nishi Waseda 1-9-19-207 Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, Japan


Japan Resources – 176

Please click here CUJ-JR-176 for the latest issue of Japan Resources, our English newsletter.

This year CUJ celebrated its 50th anniversary and we look forward to another 50 years of activism for health and safety.

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


From the Editors: The Greta Effect

International Film Festival On Organic Farming 2019

GMO Warning by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini in Tokyo

Gene Editing: Human Chain Outside Health Ministry in Tokyo

About That Expensive F35 Fighter Jet

Please Join Our One Million Signature Petition Campaign: “Regulate All Gene-edited Food!”

International Film Festival On Organic Farming 2019

The 13th International Film Festival On Organic Farming will be held on 8 December, 2019 (Sun) from 9:30 AM at the Ekoda Campus of Musashino University in Tokyo. Films from Senegal, Burkina Faso, France, and Japan will be screened (original languages/Japanese subtitles).

IFOF: PARC, Japan Organic Agriculture Association, Consumers Union of Japan

For more information, please see www.yuki-eiga.com

GMO Warnings by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini in Tokyo

Consumers Union of Japan and the No! GMO Campaign invited Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini to speak about his landmark study that showed how Roundup causes cancer in rats. He warned about genetically modified foods, that are engineered to tolerate Roundup, especially GM soy and GM corn. Séralini is professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen, France, and president of the scientific board of CRIIGEN (Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering). The research conducted by Séralini’s team has serious implications for public health and the environment and should be addressed rationally and on scientific grounds.

Gilles-Eric Séralini has run the research group that has published the most on GMOs and pesticides toxicities in the world. Since he has discovered practices of the big companies to hide this, he was the most cited in the Monsanto Papers and he has won seven court affairs against the biotech lobbies. With his co-author of three recent books, the organic French Chef Jérôme Douzelet, he worked on how to recognize the taste of these pollutants, especially in wines, and methods of detoxication for everybody. The news and views on these topics will be detailed for the general public in a very original manner.

Everyone is welcome to learn more about the risks associated with genetically modified food.

Date: October 31, 2019

Time: 12:30-16:30

Place: Tokyo Women’s Plaza, Shibuya, Tokyo