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Crop Biotech Update

Hokkaido Government to Keep GM Planting Ban

April 13, 2012

GM crop planting in Hokkaido, Japan, where the major industry is agro-industry, was banned since 2005. To review the ordinance in 2011, a survey of 306 respondents was conducted to gauge the perception and opinion of the general public on biotech crops. Various responses came up and opinions obtained largely oppose the ordinance because it is not based on science; the potential losses on farming benefits which Hokkaido farmers and consumers could enjoy is huge; and the fact that farmers are prevented from utilizing an agricultural technology that is safe to humans and environment, and can produce higher yield to feed the population.

However, the Hokkaido government overruled the opinion of the public and decided to keep the original ordinance. This is because the committee on food safety declared GM crops as not "ansin" in Japanese, meaning there is some degree of uncertainty on its safety which they believe cannot be explained through science.

The original report (in Japanese) is seen at http://www.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp/ns/shs/anzenansinsaito.htm. For news on biotechnology in Japan, contact Prof. Fusao Tomita at f.tomita@isaaa.org