Press Information – NO! GMO Campaign Japan
December 1, 2003
Declaration of Victory
“Citizens succeed in stopping Iwate prefecture’s GM rice!”
On November 28, more than 450 people from all over Japan gathered in Morioka
city, Iwate, to participate in a gathering “No to GMO National Assembly in
At the Assembly more than 407,000 signatures were collated of people from
all over Japan who had expressed support for a petition demanding a stop to
the GM rice(*) research taking place in Iwate.
All the participants then set off down the street in the cold to take the
petition to the Iwate prefectural government. It was taken into the
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department.
After receiving the 407,212 signatures from 20 representatives from the
Assembly, Mr. Masakatsu Sasaki, the Director of the Agriculture Department,
publicly stated that Iwate has decided to abandon its GM rice research.
Iwate conducted an outdoor GM rice experiment this year, which had been due
to continue for a further year.
The Director also stated that Iwate will not conduct any further outdoor
experiments involving GM rice or any other GM crops.
This is yet another victory for the citizens of Japan and follows on from
last year’s success in halting Monsanto’s GM rice in Aichi prefecture.
As a result of that successful citizens’ campaign to stop the Monsanto-Aichi
GM rice, Japanese private sector corporations completely abandoned GM rice
R&D. However the research facility of the former Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) – now an independent administrative
corporation – together with the Iwate Biotechnology Research Centre,
maintained their strong commitment to develop GM rice. Despite which, people
power has now succeeded in halting this GM rice research programme in Iwate.
MAFF is currently discussing how to tighten the regulation of outdoor
experimental releases of GM crops at research centres, in order to accord
with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which will enter into force in
Japan from 19 February 2004. Iwate’s decision is bound to have a strong
influence on MAFF’s review.
It is now no longer at all easy to work on GM rice R&D in Japan. The same
applies to other GM foods as well.
“We do not want GM food! We do not eat GM food! We will not let GM food be
produced!”. These are the words that are being repeated again and again by
the Citizens of Japan and their efforts look set to bring some big results
In terms of a global perspective on GM farming, the US company Monsanto’s
attempt to rest control over global food production has not diminished, and
the GM farming area is enlarging. In addition, commercialisation for GM
wheat is being sought in the US and Canada.
NO! GMO Campaign’s next step is to increase its cooperation with other
citizens from all over the world in order to bring a halt to GM food.
NO! GMO Campaign
For more information please contact:
Keisuke Amagasa (Mr)
Masako Koga (Ms)
NO! GMO Campaign
75-2F, Wasedamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0042 Japan
TEL: +81-3-5155-4756 FAX: +81-3-5155-4767
(*) The Iwate Biotechnology Research Center was established in April 1992
with 100% funding from Iwate Prefecture. On 3 April 2003, the MAFF approved
outdoor trials for a low-temperature resistant rice variety “Sub29”
developed by the Iwate Biotechnology Research Center. This GM rice variety
(Sasanishiki) contains the glutathione-S-transferase gene, which imparts
multiple functions such as herbicide resistance and cold resistance. The
problem with this rice variety is that it produces enzymes with multiple
functions, and thus contains many uncertain factors. Simply anything could
happen, and it is possible that previously unknown problems will arise with
this variety in the future. (Source: Citizens’ Biotechnology Information
NO! GMO Campaign: http://www.no-gmo.org/
Citizens’ Biotechnology Information Center:
GM Rice Watch Center Japan:
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Japan acceded on 21 November 2003)