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Japan: Now on the EU List of Third Countries

Japan has been added to the EU list of third countries whose organic regulatory programs are deemed to be equivalent to the EU Organic Regulation. The declaration to amend the list was made in regulation Commission Regulation (EU) No 471/2010, dated 31 May, 2010.

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Competent authorities are the Labelling and Standards Division, Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Food and Agricultural Materials Inspection Center FAMIC.

The following control bodies have been approved:

  • Hyogo prefectural Organic Agriculture Society (HOAS), www.hyoyuken.org
  • AFAS Certification Center Co., Ltd, www.afasseq.com
  • NPO Kagoshima Organic Agriculture Association, www.koaa.or.jp
  • Center of Japan Organic Farmers Group, www.yu-ki.or.jp
  • Japan Organic & Natural Foods Association, jona-japan.org/organic
  • Ecocert-QAI Japan Ltd, ecocert.qai.jp
  • Japan Certification Services, Inc., www.pure-foods.co.jp
  • OCIA Japan, www.ocia-jp.com
  • Overseas Merchandise Inspection Co., Ltd, www.omicnet.com/index.html.en
  • Organic Farming Promotion Association, www3.ocn.ne.jp/~yusuikyo
  • ASAC Stands for Axis’ System for Auditing and Certification and Association for Sustainable Agricultural Certification, www.axis-asac.net
  • Environmentally Friendly Rice Network, www.epfnetwork.org/okome
  • Ooita Prefecture Organic Agricultural Research Center, www.d-b.ne.jp/oitayuki

The other approved countries are  Australia, New Zealand,  Argentina, Costa Rica, Israel, India, and Switzerland.  As with six other countries on the list, the Commission, according to the amended regulation, “ has examined on-the-spot the rules of production and the control measures actually applied in Japan, as provided for in Article 33(2) of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.” The exception to this process is Switzerland, whose organic regulatory program was declared equivalent under an general trade agreement between the EU and Switzerland for trade in agricultural products.

According to the 2010 survey on organic agriculture world-wide, 9'092 hectares of agricultrual land were managed organically by  3'380 producers. This constituted 0.23 percent of  the agricultural land. It should be noted though that the figure on the organic land is not based on data provided by the certifiers but was gained by multiplying the number of organic farms (provided by MAFF) with the general average farm size in the country. 

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