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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 6 - 12  > Diet starts discussing opposition-party-proposed bill to revive seed act
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2018 June 6 - 12 [POLITICS]

Diet starts discussing opposition-party-proposed bill to revive seed act

June 7, 2018

The House of Representatives Agriculture Committee on June 6 began discussing a bill to revive the former seed act. The bill was jointly proposed by the Japanese Communist Party and five other opposition parties.

The former seed act, which was abolished in April this year, required prefectural governments to produce high-quality seeds of main crops such as rice, wheat, and soybean, and promote their use.

At the committee meeting, JCP lawmaker Takahashi Chizuko said that the seed law is vital to secure food sovereignty. She noted that the opposition-drafted bill contains a supplementary provision which urges that in the process of producing of high-quality seeds and promoting their use, utilization of domestic companies needs to be considered. Takahashi asked the proposer of the bill why these companies should be domestic.

As one of the bill proposers, JCP lawmaker Tamura Takaaki replied that in recent years, a handful of global agribusinesses expanded their influence in the seed market and that now the seven largest corporations control nearly 70% of the market. Under this situation, Tamura went on to say, to allow for the entry of foreign corporations in Japan’s seed market will only benefit those multinationals and most likely lead to a rise in food prices and a reduction in the variety of locally-grown species.

Tamura claimed that under the former seed act, prefectural governments and their agricultural experiment centers developed a number of species which suit local farmers’ needs and promoted the use of the developed seeds by designating them as recommended species. As examples, he cited “yukimusubi” rice in Miyagi Prefecture and “sagabiyori” rice in Saga Prefecture. Tamura stressed that a revived seed act will play an important role in protecting domestic seed varieties in the future.

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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