From Bio Journal - July 2011

Cultivation trials of GM rapeseed by Monsanto Japan

Monsanto Japan will begin cultivation trials of GM rapeseed (canola) at its fields in Kawauchi Machi, Ibaraki Prefecture from July 2011. MAFF has solicited public opinion on this from 23 May to 21 June and will approve the outdoor cultivation trial following this. At present, in addition to the attention being given to rapeseed as a radiation pollution remedial measure, due to Monsantofs free provision of maize seed in Haiti after the earthquake disaster that occurred there, distrust of Monsanto has intensified among citizens.

Japanese government signs the Nagoya Protocol on biodiversity

The Japanese ambassador to the UN, Tsuneo Nishida, signed the Nagoya Protocol at the UN Headquarters in New York on 11 May 2011. This protocol is the agreement on the genetic resources access and benefit-sharing (ABS) issue that was adopted at the 10th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10), held in Nagoya in October 2010. So far, 21 countries have signed, and the protocol will be issued 90 days after 50 countries have signed.

Further, the Japanese government has not yet signed the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety that stipulates the framework for liability and redress in the event of loss or damage caused, for example, by gene pollution from GM crops. As of 11 May 2011, 22 countries had signed the supplementary protocol.

Simplification of the biodiversity impact assessment

In order to assess impacts on biodiversity based on the Cartegena Protocol, in Japan it is necessary to apply to and receive the approval from the relevant ministry or agency. This procedure is in the process of being simplified.

The abbreviated application has been made by Tsukuba University with respect to a cold-resistant eucalyptus which is an Australian eucalyptus into which a cyanobacteria gene has been inserted. Up until now, in the case of recombinations containing differing phyletic lineages, an application was necessary for each lineage. This time, although the same genes are involved, it has been possible to simplify the application procedure for the differing lineages in one epackage,f and approval has been granted by MEXT and the Ministry of the Environment. The result is that cultivation trials involving differing phyletic lineages become possible. There is a possibility that this application procedure will become generalized from now on, resulting in concern for impacts on biodiversity.

In addition, Tsukuba University has already started to carry out trials for six lines of saline-resistant eucalyptus, three of which are undergoing trials at present.

GMO crop approvals for April/May 2011

GM crops approved for open field cultivation (Type 1 usage)
(Biodiversity Impact Assessment Investigative Commission)
NameApproval Date*
SoybeanAryloxyalkanoate-type herbicide tolerance + glyphosate and gluphosinate herbicide toleranceDow Chemical JapanDAS44406, OECD UI: DAS-44406-615 April 2011
MaizeLepidoptera and coleoptera insect pest resistence + gluphosinate herbicide toleranceDuPont 4114, OECD UI: DP-004114-315 April 2011
MaizeLepidoptera and coleoptera insect pest resistence + gluphosinate herbicide toleranceDuPont32316, OECD UI: DP-032316-815 April 2011
MaizeLepidoptera and coleoptera insect pest resistence + gluphosinate herbicide toleranceDuPont40416, OECD UI: DP-040416-815 April 2011
MaizeAryloxyalkanoate-type herbicide resistanceDuPont43A47, OECD UI: DP-043A47-315 April 2011
SoybeanLow saturated fatty acid, high oleic acid + glyphosate herbicide toleranceMonsanto JapanMON87705, OECD UI: MON-87705-615 April 2011
SoybeanMesotrione herbicide toleranceSyngenta JapanSYHT04R, OECD UI: SYN-0004R-824 May 2011
* Technically, approval is granted after public comments have been accepted.

Note: External links provided for the information of users in no way implies CBIC endorsement for views expressed in those websites, nor is CBIC responsible for the content of external internet sites.

(English Index)