The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) has released the 2017 Agricultural Biotechnology Annual for Japan. The report states that Japan remains as one of the world’s largest per-capita importers of food and feed produced using modern biotechnologies. The United States is its dominant supplier of corn, accounting for 70 percent of Japanese corn imports in 2016.
The report also says that regulation of genetically engineered (GE) food crops in Japan is science-based and transparent and new events are reviewed and approved within anticipated time periods that mostly align with industry expectations for market release. As of October 16, 2017, 313 events had been approved for food use. However, the number of approved events in the past three years has fallen as a result of an improvement to the Japanese review process implemented by MHLW in 2015.
So far, 176 events for 9 crops have been approved for environmental release, 133 events of which include approval for commercial cultivation. However, there is no commercial cultivation of GE food crops in Japan – the GE rose released by Suntory in 2009 is still the only GE crop commercially cultivated in the country.