In January of 2018, the Japanese legislature abolished its 1952 Seed Law, which provided the legal basis for local agricultural committees that provide assistance to rice farmers including help with seeds, seed planting and nearly all aspects of rice farming. The abolishment of the law is related to a number of other key shifts currently at play in Japanese politics, including the reform of JA Zenchu (Japan Agriculture, the National Central Union of Cooperatives) and power shifts within the bureaucracy alongside international trade commitments. Consumer groups, especially those concerned with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), advocates for sustainable farming practices and those that insist on local control over food, argue that these changes may open rice farming to corporate control, including foreign ownership.
This research begins by examining the landscape of international legal frameworks related to GMOs and the domestic context that influenced changes occuring in agricultural policy including the repeal of the Seed Law.
Nicole L. Freiner, Bryant University