(Posted Mon. Aug 25th, 2014)

A team of national news reporters and key opinion leaders from Japan visited the United States recently to learn about the latest developments in biotechnology, gaining accurate information and first-hand observations to share with interested audiences back home.


“Japan has a good record on managing biotechnology, including event approvals,” said Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council director in Japan, who accompanied the group. “The Council wants to maintain that status, and transparency is important. The best way to build confidence is to let the public know that technology providers and growers have an open door, and to answer questions as they arise.” 

Japan is among the world’s leaders in developing timely, science-based and transparent regulatory systems for biotechnology trait approvals. This is reflective of both Japan’s long-standing commitment to food security through trade and effective public education. 

Furthermore, Japan has long been the largest importer of U.S. corn according to the National Corn Growers Association, a founding member of the Council.

“U.S. corn farmers value their relationship with Japanese importers,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Rosendale, Wis. “For many years, we have exported more corn to Japan than to any other foreign market. America’s corn farmers are committed to maintaining this important relationship and highly supportive of activities such as this that foster and strengthen our bond.”

Last week’s visit included meetings with both academic and industry experts to discuss current developments in biotechnology, as well as stops at farms in Missouri and Illinois to see the benefits of modern technology in the field and have conversations with farmers using advanced varieties in their businesses.

“Biotechnology doesn’t just make a bigger crop,” Hamamoto said. “It also makes a healthier crop, with less insect damage, lower levels of mycotoxins and fewer environmental impacts. The benefits are obvious when you see them in the field, and the team is grateful for the opportunity.”

Click here to view more photos from this team’s visit.