Archive for June, 2008

Tokyo Actions against the G8 summit

Posted on June 25, 2008. Filed under: Japan Resources |

The G8 summit will be held in Hokkaido, Japan. On July 7-9, head of states from just eight of the world’s countries will gather together at Lake Toya. There they will make decisions on the future in the world, protected by the police and military. While the Japanese government welcomes the summit, many people who are dissatisfied with the decisions plan various actions against the summit.

Opposing the summit, NGOs are organizing actions against the summit. This event will take place in Tokyo on June 28-29, 2008.

G8 Action Network (English)

We welcome the opportunity to collaborate in actions with people who tackle with issues of poverty, labor, discrimination, war, violence, gender inequality, social exclusion, environmental destruction, abuse of human rights, food safety, agriculture, minority, and public order. Our aim is to spread our dissent to as many as possible people immediately before the G8 summit.

Among the speakers is Yasuaki Yamaura from CUJ, who will discuss the opposition against WTO and Free Trade Agreements, food safety and food security, in light of the current global food crisis.

More information with a video here (in Japanese).

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Report from the Planet Diversity Conference in Bonn, Germany

Posted on June 17, 2008. Filed under: Japan Resources |

Consumers Union of Japan participated together with other Japanese NGOs at the large Planet Diversity conference in Bonn, Germany on May 12-16, 2008. It was a global congress on the future of food and agriculture, with a demonstration to celebrate biodiversity.

At the rally, anti-GMO activists including Percy Schmeiser and Vandana Shiva spoke to the 6,000 people who gathered from all over Germany and other countries for the event. At the workshops, participants discussed plant and livestock diversity, building knowledge around biodiversity, and key issues of the official biosafety negotiations held later in May.

Koketsu Michiyo from CUJ participated in the workshop on health impacts of GMOs organised by the Federation of Ecological Physicists, including Dr. Arpad Pushtai, who has a vast experience with GMO and has visited Japan. “We don’t only need networks between people, but between people and plants, and people and planet earth,” notes Koketsu-san from CUJ, who says she bebame aware of this during the six days in Bonn, Germany.

Read the full report here:

080617-cuj-planet-diversity-report (pdf)

Read more on the Planet Diversity website:
http://www.planet-diversity.org/home.html

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Evaluate the Food Safety Commission!

Posted on June 10, 2008. Filed under: Japan Resources |

Japan does not have any equivalent to the US Food and Drug Administration, and there is no Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs like in the European Union. Yet, recent events have shown that food safety is a huge concern among consumers in Japan.

The independent watchdog, Food Safety Citizens’ Watch meets regularly and discusses important topics. As Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced that the Government would establish a consumer agency, the FSCW wants to point out that there has been no proper evaluation of the roles played by Japan’s Food Safety Commission and the Fundamental law for food safety in protecting the citizens’ health and guaranteeing the safety of our food. Before creating a new consumer administrative body, FSCW believes it is necessary to impartiality evaluate the current achievements, pointing out both the positive and negative aspects.

In a special resolution, FSCW therefore requests that the present Food Safety Commission should be thoroughly evaluated before a new Consumer Agency is established.

Special Resolution:
Evaluate the Food Safety Commission before Establishing a Consumer Agency

At a meeting with the government panel on consumer issues on April 23, 2008, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced that the Government would establish a consumer agency the next fiscal year. This new body will reportedly have authority over all consumer-related issues including food safety, and will operate as a “control tower” over consumer protection with competence for planning, legal execution and advising. However, the Government decided that the relevant members from existing consumer-related government bodies would be unified within the consumer agency’s structure, wanting to deflect criticism for making the government bigger.

In this context, we want to point out that there has been no proper evaluation of the roles played by the Food Safety Commission and the Fundamental law for food safety in protecting the citizens’ health and guaranteeing the safety of our food. Before creating a new consumer administrative body, we believe it is necessary to impartiality evaluate the current achievements, pointing out both the positive and negative aspects.

We therefore request that the present Food Safety Commission should be thoroughly evaluated before a new Consumer Agency is established.

– Adopted by the participants at the sixth annual general meeting of Food Safety Citizens’ Watch on April 26, 2008

Food Safety Citizens’ Watch was established in April 2003 as a network of experts to monitor developments and make proposals to the government regarding food safety issues from the citizen’s point of view.

English Newsletter Website: Food Safety Citizens’ Watch

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Global Article 9 Declaration to Abolish War

Posted on June 6, 2008. Filed under: Japan Resources |

Ms. Yoko Tomiyama, CUJ’s veteran activist and chairperson, participated in the huge Global Article 9 conference at Makuhari, Chiba on May 4-6, 2008.

A Declaration (pdf) was adopted by participants of the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War, endorsed by Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, and by the Nobel Women’s Peace Initiative. To read all the outcome documents of the Conference, click here.

Global Article 9 Conference Statement (pdf) towards the Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom meeting in Geneva, Switzerland (April 28 – May 9, 2008)

Global Article 9 Conference Statement to the G8 Summit (pdf) taking place in July 2008 in Hokkaido, Japan under Japanese presidency

This three-day event attracted over 33,000 participants nationwide: over 22,000 in Tokyo, 8,000 in Osaka, 2,000 in Hiroshima and 1,000 in Sendai. Close to 200 international guest speakers and participants came from 40 different countries and regions to represent all continents at the conference.

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