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Responding Public Demand for Assurance of Genetically Modified Crops: Case from Japan

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Genetically modified (GM) crops provide a classic example of risk characterised with uncertainty and ambiguity. This article analyses the risk management of GM crops in Japan as a case and investigates how the Japanese government has responded to the growing public demand for safety assurance of new agricultural and food varieties. It argues that, while the government realised the need to respond to public reluctance in consuming GM food by adopting more resilient and discursive management, it has faced a dilemma to incorporate the new type of approach into conventional risk assessment. This tension was reflected in the process and policy outputs of the consensus conference on GM crops, which was ambiguously placed in the risk management process. This article shows the dynamics of opting for policies to manage scientifically uncertain risks in particular socio-political and institutional contexts. Such understanding can suggest ways towards enhanced policy debates.
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Keywords: GM crops; Japan; consensus conference; risk management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sociology of Environment and Technology, School of Social Science, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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