A total of 52 participants composed of scientists and experts as well as representatives from the academe, national and international agencies/institutions, partners from the biotech and business sectors, and media practitioners were informed on topics centered on the socio-economic aspect of GM crops as well as the global status of biotech crops presented by Dr. Rhodora Aldemita, Director of the ISAAA Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology. According to Dr. Aldemita, there is a huge opportunity cost due to non-adoption of GM crops. She underlined the significance of looking at the economic and financial prospects of biotech crops because ultimately, maximizing the profits of the farmers is highly important in agriculture.
Dr. Fusao Tomita of NBIC presented that the public understanding and acceptance is still low in Japan, especially in Hokkaido due to misinformation. The Hokkaido local government implements a strict local ordinance banning commercial planting of GM. He also mentioned that the GM labeling law, which will be amended in this fiscal year, may change the public attitude toward GM, since Japan is dependent on imported GM crops already.