Select Committee on European Communities Second Report - Written Evidence


Letter from the Embassy of Japan

  I refer to your letter dated 7 May 1998, addressed to HE the Ambassador.

  Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your discussion on GMO regulation in your country.

  As the new EC regulation on certain foodstuffs produced from GMO, which does not seem to be clearly detailed, so far, was recently announced, I would like to make a general comment on the issue in relation to the activities of the Japanese industry at this stage.

  Several importers of Japanese foods residing in the EU expressed their concern that a bill that "foods should be tested for the presence of DNA or protein resulting from genetic modification and that labelling would be required if the test shows difference from an existing food in composition and nutritional value", which was adopted at a recent EU farm ministers' meeting, might cause adverse effects on import of Japanese foods to the EU. The possible adverse effects include, inter alia, delay in delivery and additional expenditure for verification for goods imported from Japan.

  Additionally, I enclose the following guidelines (not printed) regarding controls on release of GMO or usage of GMO to food, which were prepared by four ministries (or agency), respectively:

    (1)  The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:

      [System and Procedures for the Application of Recombinant DNA Crop Plants in Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and the Food Industry]

      [Guidelines for Application of Recombinant DNA Organism in Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Food Industry and Other Related Industries].

    (2)  The Ministry of Health and Welfare:

      [Guidelines for safety assessment of foods and food additives produced by the recombinant DNA techniques]

      [List of the products which cleared the safety assessment]

    (3)  The Ministry of Trade and Industry:

      [Guidelines for Industrial Application of Recombinant DNA Technology] * I apologise that there is no English version.

    (4)  Science and Technology Agency:

      [Guidelines for Recombinant DNA Experiments]

Klyoshi Asahina

Counsellor (Agriculture)

11 June 1998



 
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