October 6, 2008


Japanese activists to rally against GM technology 



Japanese speakers will rally against the US government, Monsanto and GM foods in general to protest the spread of GM technology and its supposed benefits.


Keisuke Amagasa at the Tokyo-based, 'No! GMO Campaign' will speak on  Thursday, 16 October 2008 at the World Foodless Day event about how genetically modified foods are accelerating the food crisis. An outspoken critic of Monsanto and gene patenting policies, he says, Japan does not produce any GM crops. However, because Japan imports GM canola from Canada, GM contamination has already occurred and it is spreading to a much greater degree than one could imagine.


No genetically modified crops are grown commercially in the country due to strong consumer opposition to "unnatural" GM foods. Yet, Monsanto and the US government continue their push.


Imported foods have been found to be contaminated with illegal GM varieties repeatedly, including the infamous Star link corn, that had not been approved in the US.


NHK World notes that now, a US government official is visiting Tokyo to seek Japan's assistance in promoting the safety of GM crops among Japanese consumers as a way of easing the global food crisis.


Dr. Nina Fedoroff, the Science and Technology Adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was interviewed by NHK in Tokyo on Thursday, 2 October 2008 and said the planting of GM crops has been spreading rapidly in the United States and stressed the need to spread this kind of crop globally to cope with the food crisis.


With US corn, 60 percent is GM and nearly all of it contains Monsanto's genes.


However, NHK noted that even in this so-called food crisis, Monsanto has raised the price of its corn seed to US$100 a bag and is making phenomenal profits.


Time after time, Japanese consumer organizations, housewives, NGOs and co-ops have protested against imports of GM foods. Most of the soy and corn that enter Japan is either carefully sourced as "non-GM" (using expensive traceability schemes such as IP handling) or simply used as animal feed.


If GM crops are cultivated, then this kind of pollution will spread even more. Judging by the ominous precedent of Canada, once GM crops are cultivated, segregation between GM and non-GM will become almost impossible, and keeping pure non-GM varieties away from GM contamination will be very hard, GM critics said.

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