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Crop Biotech Update

Japan's Ministry of Environment Meets to Discuss Genome Editing Regulation

August 29, 2018
Following the initial decision about the non-regulation of genome editing procedures by a government panel in Japan, the Ministry of Environment holds its second meeting about the handling of genome-edited organisms. The initial recommendation was to not regulate genome editing procedures, as the technology does not involve the insertion of DNA from a foreign source. However, they gave exceptions to genome-edited organisms that will be grown outdoors, in which data about the gene alteration must be provided to the government. 

Opposing views are expressed about the panel's conclusion. Hideharu Anazawa of the Japan Bioindustry Association says that the panel's decision was befitting, as the technology poses few risks, whereas Michiyo Koketsu, the Secretary-General of the Consumers Union of Japan, says that the panel has underestimated the risk of unintended changes that may be introduced using the technology, and more careful discussions must be held considering the point of view of the consumers.

In the panel's second meeting, they agree to the same conclusions of not regulating genome-edited organisms and plan to form an "Advisory Panel on GMOs," where legal experts will be invited to discuss the suitability of the conclusions.

For more information, read the news at NHK World Japan and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.