National

Farm panel urges limiting areas where Japan-developed crops can be grown

JIJI

An advisory panel to the agriculture ministry Friday proposed limiting areas where domestically developed varieties of agricultural crops can be grown, in a bid to prevent them from being taken out of the country.

The move comes after a series of cases in which national varieties, such as the high-quality Shine Muscat grape, were cultivated without permission in China and South Korea.

Under the current plant variety protection and seed law, varieties registered as intellectual property cannot be grown without approval, though taking them out of Japan is possible.

The proposal seeks to address the situation by allowing developers of new varieties to limit cultivation areas to specific municipalities in Japan and obliging farmers wishing to grow them to get permission from the developers.

Developers would be able to request injunctions if the cultivating farmers commit any violations.

To implement the proposal, the ministry plans to submit a bill to revise the law to the Diet early next year.

In the meantime, the ministry will continue to refrain from placing restrictions on cultivating varieties that are unregistered, enabling them to be grown freely.