Regulation of Genome Editing in Plant Biotechnology: Japan

  • Tetsuya IshiiEmail author


To regulate the research and industrial uses of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Japan enacted the Act on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity through Regulations on the Use of Living Modified Organisms 2003. This law can be regarded as a product-based GMO regulation. To date, Japan has approved 133 GM crop varieties for cultivation, distribution, and import, thus becoming a major importer of GM crops in the world. However, no GM crops have been commercially cultivated in Japan, except one ornamental GM flower. A recent consumer survey showed that 40.7% of respondents expressed concern over the safety of GM food products. Meanwhile, some Japanese researchers have already used robust genome editing techniques, such as CRISPR-Cas9, and reported gene-disrupted apple, potato, soybean, tomato and rice. In 2017, a GM rice variety was approved as Japan’s first field trial of a genome edited crop. In contrast, some citizen groups expressed opposition to the cultivation test and demanded the regulation of genome edited crops. However, relevant ministries have not considered the regulation of any uses of genome editing in earnest. The current state of Japan does not warrant a promising future of genome edited crops.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of Health and SafetyHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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