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Letter to Japanese Codex Secretriat



URGENT PROTEST CALL from JAPAN!! PLESASE CIRCULATE TO AS MANY PLACES and
SOON AS POSSIBLE!

Dear everyone,

Today (14th), the first conference of Codex Ad Hoc Inter-governmental Task
Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology has started at Chiba, next to
Tokyo, Japan. But behind this event, NGOs have met a terrible treatment last
week.

Japan NGOs Committee planned to organise Codex NGO Forum in Chiba, inviting
Dr Arpad Pusztai (who comes to Japan for the first time since the GM debate
started). But the main venue, Overseas Vocational Training Association
(OVTA -an institution supervised by Labour Ministry) had refused to rent the
place to the Committee just 6 days before the Forum was expected to start
(6th March), despite OVTA once acknowledged the content of the Forum and
gave a permission two month ago. OVTA explained cancellation was because of
'inadequate application' and 'unfit for objectives of the venue'. It said
that 'based on the information from the third party, we investigated the
Committee's activities on the Internet and newspapers and found
anti-government conference. So, we cannot rent the venue..'

These days, organising NGO conference along with the major international
conference is very common such as Seattle and Bangkok. Therefore, we cannot
believe such a treatment (probably caused by pressure from the certain
organisations) is of a very democratic country at least as a system.

So, we urge you to express your concern directly to OVTA and the Ministry of
Health and Welfare (Japanese Codex Secretriat) with us!!

We made examples of letters to OVTA and MHW. If you send them e-mail or
fax/tel, please forward the same message to the organiser as they can count
how many letters were sent. The organisers are Mr Fukushima
<kaza@med.email.ne.jp> and Ms Mika Iba <mika@mb.kcom.ne.jp>. They are so
busy for looking for alternative venue and rearrangement.

As for Codex conference, visit MHW's website:
http://www.mhw.go.jp/


1) OVTA tel:+81-43-276-7221 fax:+81-43-276-7280
   e-mail: piz@ovta.or.jp

Dear OVTA,

I am very concerned that your organisation suddenly cancelled the booking of
a venue for Codex NGO Forum in Chiba organised by Japan NGO Committee.

As far as genetic engineering is concerned, a majority of people in the
world feel unconvinced of its application to foods. The Forum is a very
legitimate meeting to represent such voices from ordinary people and
consumers. In addition, it has been very common for NGOs to have a meeting
along with major international conferences these days. If you cancelled the
booking due to an anti-GM or anti-govenmental activity, your action is very
anti-democratic one and betrays even the Japanese government who is
promoting NGOs/NPOs to encourage growth of the civil society by the new NPO
ACT.

I strongly protest your action and request your clear explanation of the
reason of cancelling.

Yours faithfully,



2) Japanese Codex Secretariat (Environmental Health Bureau, Ministry of
Health and Welfare) Director Mr Matsubara
 tel: +81-3-3595-2252 fax:+81-3-3595-2251
 e-mail: codexj@mhw.go.jp

Dear Mr Matsubara,

I have acknowledged that the Overseas Vocational Traning Association had
suddenly cancelled the booking of a venue for Codex NGO Forum in Chiba
organised by Japan NGO Committee. I am deeply concerned with this action by
OVTA.

As far as genetic engineering is concerned, a majority of people in the
world feel unconvinced of its application to foods. The Forum is a very
legitimate meeting to represent such voices from ordinary people and
consumers. In addition, it has been very common for NGOs to have a meeting
along with major international conferences these days. If you cancelled the
booking due to an anti-GM or anti-govenmental activity, your action is very
anti-democratic one and betrays even the Japanese government who is
promoting NGOs/NPOs to encourage growth of the civil society by the new NPO
ACT.

If you wish to succeed in the first conference of Codex Ad Hoc
Inter-governmental Task Force, such an action looks down on the conference's
legitimacy and accountabiliy and should be shameful for the Ministry of
Health and Welfare too.

Therefore, I urge you to strongly protest against the OVTA's action and call
for a thorough investigation of the reason of cancellation.

Yours sincerely,





Thank you for your co-operation,

--
Tomoo Machiba
Research student, Environment & Society Research Unit
Department of Geography, University College London
26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP UK
http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/esru

Home address: 27 Rutland Court, Queens Drive, London W3 0HL UK
Tel/fax: +44-(0)20-8993-5994  Mobile: +44-(0)7803-892443
E-mail: tomoo@machiba.u-net.com  tomoo@care4free.net (You can donate
charities without any charge!)
--
Associate, SustainAbility Ltd.
http://www.sustainability.co.uk
--
Japan Desk Co-ordinator, Jubilee 2000 Coalition
1 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DT
http://www.jubilee2000uk.org/main.html

------------------------------------
OSAWA Akiko <aosawa@jca.apc.org>
People's Forum 2001, Japan
Maruko-bldg.3F 1-20-6 Higashiueno, Taito-ku
Tokyo 110-0015 Japan
TEL. 813-3834-2436    FAX. 813-3834-2406
http://www.jca.apc.org/pf2001jp/