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Japan to ratify Nagoya Protocol on genetic resources

  • January 19, 2017
  • , Asahi , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

The government will submit a bill for ratification of “The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources” during the next regular Diet session. The protocol sets a framework for utilizing and providing nations genetic resources that are collected from living organisms and used in various products such as medicines, food, and cosmetics.


Up until now, in many cases, genetic resources from animals, plants, and microorganisms that are found in developing countries have been collected by corporations of developed economies and used in their research and new product development. In order to share the resulting profits in a fair manner, a protocol was adopted at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was held in Nagoya in 2010. The protocol was followed by the enactment in 2014.


As of Jan. 18, 2017, a total of 93 nations along with the European Union (EU) have become the protocol’s signatories. Japan has not joined the group, despite the cabinet’s intention to enact the protocol at an early opportunity as seen in the “national strategy for biological diversity” issued in 2012. The delay was partly due to a cautious approach Japanese industries took out of fear that the ratification will result in an increased procedural burden in obtaining genetic resources.


However, if left unratified, the protocol may make it more difficult for Japan to purchase genetic resources from the signatory nations and thus negatively affect domestic research and product developments The Science Council of Japan has been advocating early ratification, and now the government is working to conclude the process.


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