Is there a certification process for organic rice in Japan?
Yes, there is.
In April 2001 (quite recently),
有機JAS法 Yu-u-ki JAS (pronounced "jas", not J-A-S) Hoh (Organic JAS Law)
was put into effect.
Organic products have this mark, 有機JASマーク, yu-u-ki JAS mark, on them:http://www.no1yuki.com/yukijas.html
You see the green mark in the middle. That's the one.
Don't trust anyone until you see the mark.
The term 有機 yu-u-ki (organic) used to be abused so much. Even today, there are so many people who just don't know the exact definition of that term. There used to be farmers who claimed their farm products were "organic" just because they used organic fertilizers, and there used to be supermarkets selling vegetables mislabeled as organic ones.
I read the Japanese version of the Roppongi Hills Club messagehttp://www.roppongih...12/index.html#1
Full of beautiful words, but no mention of the yu-u-ki JAS mark. Ask them if they use the real organic rice (有機米 yu-u-ki ma-i).
Needless to say, there are frauds:http://www.no1yuki.c...ijas.html#fusei
I found one organic rice store on the web:http://www.no1yuki.com/index.html
This stores deals in this rice, from the United States:http://www.lundberg.com/
Japan Organic Inspectors Association (not much useful information, though)http://www.ops.dti.n...es/index_e.html
There are three levels of cultivation with low or no agricultural chemicals:
1) 有機 yu-u-ki, just mentioned above
2) 無農薬 mu-nouyaku (no agricultural chemicals)
3) 減農薬 gen-nouyaku (reduced agricultural chemicals)
有機 has the stringent rules. Farm products cultivated with the other two levels must NOT have the 有機JAS マーク, mentioned above.
The other subject:
Before I can give you any meaningful comments, you'll have to answer the question:
You thought that the article was an eye-opener because 1) it made you realize that Japanese rice was expensive because of excessive use of chemicals OR because 2) it made you realize that Japanese rice contained a lot of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and was hazardous. Which is it? Or, both?
At this point, let me point out the following:
1) The high price of Japanese rice is a "structural problem". It's not something that you can solve by fixing a single element alone. The cost of chemicals (probably) accounts for a fraction of the total rice production cost. I have no data available at the moment to prove this, though.
2) The article is dated June 19, 2000; simply "outdated". We are in 2004. We all know more about EDCs (EDCs are more commonly known in Japan as 環境ホルモン kankyo hormones). We all know that they are hazardous. We all know that agricultural chemicals are sources of EDCs, but we also know that other foods, especially fish, are major sources of such hazardous substances.
My personal opinion is this: In this highly industrialized society of ours, we cannot escape from the hazard of such substances (and food additives). You can live in the mountains and lead a healthy, self-sufficient life, free from all those substances, getting away from it all. But I can't. The 20th century was a century of expansion. The 21st century will be an environmental century, a green century, and above all, a "golden century". We are in the middle of the transition to a better world. But, in the meantime, we are the victims of those substances.
What do you say?
Waiting for a reply.
Edited by Hiroyuki, 05 April 2004 - 08:31 PM.