Farmers and consumers launch 'Green Wave' action
On World Food Day October 16, farmers and consumers held a signature campaign calling on the government to take measures to raise Japan's self-sufficiency rate in front of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo.
This campaign marked the start of the "Green Wave" action organized by the National Campaign for the Defense of the People's Food and Health (Shokukenren), which consists of labor unions, agricultural and farmers' organizations, and women's groups. Continuing until December 9, the action calls for prices of agricultural products and farmers' incomes to be guaranteed, places of origin to be displayed on food products, a thorough safety inspection to be conducted, and negotiations for free agricultural trades to be halted.
Demonstrators argued that 60 percent of food in Japan is imported and this exacerbates the situation in which 1.2 billion people in the world are suffering from hunger.
They pointed out that food safety is threatened in Japan with imports of contaminated rice, frozen food products contaminated with toxic materials, and U.S. beef containing BSE-risk parts, and stressed the need to promote a system to produce foods domestically so that peoples throughout the world can have an access to safe food products.
In response to Shokukenren members distributing vegetables on the street, many young passers-by signed the petition.
A 21-year-old woman said, "Although I want to buy domestically-grown food, I tend to buy cheaper imported products. I agree with the idea that the government should guarantee the price of agricultural products in order to support Japan's farmers."
"Farmers in my hometown have a problem in finding their successors. We need a system to support farmers to continue their businesses and learn new technologies," said a 36-year-old man, who was on a trip to Tokyo.
- Akahata, October 17, 2009