15 July 1999
Japan risks US wrath over GM labels

JAPAN is running the risk of raising tensions with the USA and Canada after signalling that it could move towards the mandatory labelling of genetically modified (GM) food.

Japans ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said a final decision on labelling has not been made.

It has just published a report on how GM organisms should be categorised, suggesting a move towards labelling at some stage.

The USA and Canada are opposed to identifying GM foods because it suggests they are a health risk.

Japan, one of the largest importers of agricultural products, depends on imports for virtually all its corn, cottons and rapeseed. It only produces 3% of soyabeans consumed.

Consumer groups in the country have been lobbying hard for stricter restrictions on GM foods, including labelling.

  • Financial Times 15/07/99 page 4