From Bio Journal - February 2014

Food Safety Commission approves GM sweet corn

The GM food assessment group under the Food Safety Commission carried out safety assessments for a herbicide tolerant and insecticidal sweet corn line MON88017 and insecticidal sweet corn line MON89034 on 5 November 2013, and these were approved by the Commission on 6 January 2014. Public comments were solicited from 8 January. Both of these GM lines are being distributed in the US as human food appropriate for raw consumption, and it is possible that they will also be distributed for the same purpose in Japan.

Japanese Committee considering the Nagoya Protocol finalizes report

The 10th Conference of Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in October in Nagoya in October 2010 adopted the Nagoya Protocol on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) issue, one of the important pillars of the Convention. Discussions are currently being pushed forward by the relevant Japanese ministries toward ratification of the protocol, and the central gGroup to Consider the Nature of Domestic Measures relating to the Nagoya Protocolh (chaired by Sophia University Graduate School Professor Hiroshi ISOZAKI) set up by the Ministry of the Environment, has recently finalized its draft report and called for public comments from 27 December 2013. The Group has thus far discussed the following four questions: 1) How are other contracting states carrying out domestic law compliance related to ABS? 2) How can the use of genetic resources be supervised? 3) How should opportunities to obtain Japanese genetic materials be provided? and 4) How should public education on ABS be carried out?

The crucial ABS issue is the conflict between developing countries, who insist on the return of profits arising from genetic resources, and the developed countries, who wish to see this held down to as low a level as possible. Points of conflict between the two sides are large and it was not clear at the Nagoya conference whether or not agreement could be reached on the protocol, but the COP10 chair country, Japan, put forward a proposal from the chair and worked forcefully to have it adopted. The proposal excluded all the claims of the developing countries, but in return the Japanese government pledged two billion dollars as an initial outlay from developed counties for the support of developing countries. This new draft report is along the lines of the Japanese chair proposal and thus gives consideration to the wishes of industrial circles.

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(English Index)