Major Blow to Monsanto-
-Japan Backs off on GE Rice

Monsanto failed halfway in developing herbicide tolerant rice in Japan
By Masaharu KawataGMO Information Service Japan

(contact E-mail:

Today, December 5, 2002, the chief of The Department of Agriculture and
Forestry of Aichi Prefecture, Japan answered Ms. Tomomi Nakamura, an
assembly member that they will stop the research cooperation with Monsanto
they have continued since 1996 to develop Roundup herbicide tolerant rice
strain in Japan. He also said they decided not to commercialize the
herbicide tolerant rice strain considering many Japanese consumers are
opposing it.

The Japanese people won the victory after ten-month movement against the
research. The movement led by NO GMO campaign, an organization opposing
genetically modified crops in Japan, consisted 148 organizations and groups
of consumers and organic farmers. They had two big meeting against GM rice
in Nagoya, the capital of the Aichi prefecture in July 7 and November 17,
and handed the petition with signature of more than 580 thousand people
against the development and commercialization of the GM rice to the Governor
of Aichi Prefecture. The prefectural assembly today was noticed how the
local government officials answer the question by Ms. Tomomi Nakamura who
joined the movement and asked to stop the GM rice development in Aichi

Monsanto has cooperated with the Agricultural Research Center of Aichi
Prefecture these six years giving it money and their patent technology to
develop rice strains tolerant to the Roundup herbicide in Japan. The
Roundup tolerant gene was injected into a rice strain that was developed by
the research center using ordinary breeding technique, and was a recommended
strain of the prefecture for farmers by its good taste. The Monsanto would
get great profit if succeeded the development in Japan. However Japanese
consumers opposed the development because rice is their main food in dairy
life, and made petition with collecting signature against the research.

The Roundup tolerant soybeans shared almost 75% in USA this year. The next
target of Monsanto are GM rice and wheat, because both crop are produced six
hundred millions a year in the world and are main food of Asian and European
people. Then development of genetically modified rice and wheat may the
final target of the first generation GM crops that would promise great
profit to the company. The stop of the development of GM rice in Japan may
be a great set back for Monsanto. The decision by Aichi Prefecture may
influence and act as a brake to other GM crop research by institutes and
companies in Japan. This may also be good news for people against GM rice
and wheat in Asia and Europe.December 5, 2002 News from Japan By Masaharu
GMO Information Service Japan (contact

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