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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 14 - 20  > 170,000 signatures calling for new seed act submitted to Diet
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2018 November 14 - 20 [ECONOMY]

170,000 signatures calling for new seed act submitted to Diet

November 14, 2018

A citizens’ group working to protect native seeds on November 13 submitted to the Diet 170,000 signatures calling for the creation of a new law that can fill the role of the abolished Main Crop Seeds Act. The group says that the absence of the law would turn Japan’s seed supply into one that is less farmer-friendly.

This group was formed last year by farmers, consumers, and concerned citizens after the government launched a move to repeal the former seed act.

The group on the day held a rally in the House of Councilors Dietmembers’ office building and handed over the signatures to lawmakers of the Japanese Communist Party and three other opposition parties.

The abolished seed act required the national and prefectural governments to run agricultural experiment centers to develop new varieties of major crops, such as rice, wheat, and soybean, so that farmers were able to purchase high-quality seeds at affordable prices. In April 2017, the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties used their majority in the Diet to enact a bill to scrap the law with the aim of promoting the entry of private businesses into the seed market.

The repeal of the seed law has increased concern that farmers will be unable to obtain seed varieties that are uniquely suited to the natural environment of their region. It is also feared that major agribusinesses will take control of Japan’s seed supply, which could raise seed prices. The JCP and five other opposition parties in June this year jointly proposed a bill to reinstate the main features of the former seed act, and the bill is pending in the Diet.

Speaking at the rally, JCP Dietmember Kami Tomoko said that it is unacceptable for the ruling coalition to have done away with the seed act in order to encourage the business sector to enter the seed market, and called for continuous efforts to revive the law.

Past related articles:
> 6 opposition parties jointly submit bill to revive seed act [April 20, 2018]
> Abe gov’t moves to put Japan’s seed production into hands of multinational agribusinesses [April 11, 2017]
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