The egg industry corruption case – Mr. Akita and former agriculture minister Yoshikawa both found guilty, but problems continue

The court’s ruling of the bribery case, in which the former CEO of the leading egg company AKITA Foods had bribed the then Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yoshikawa to lower the standards of animal welfare, has become final and binding. They were both found guilty and rightly so. See here for related articles including an overview of the case. (As for the contents of the court’s ruling, please search news articles) We must not end with just 2 guilty people Is this the conclusion of the case? Having been witnessing absurdity of the poultry industry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) since around 2018, before…

Former head of Akita Foods found guilty, but won’t any chickens be saved?

On October 6, 2021, a trial of the former Akita Foods representative in the egg corruption case was held and he was found guilty. He frequently lobbied the then ministers, former ministers, and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) staff to change the international standards of animal welfare into industry-friendly policies, and bribed them. Although convicted, the hens who were the victims of the incident have not been saved at all. The main topic of this incident was animal welfare. While the world, including Japanese citizens, began shifting to cage-free rearing of hens, the industry stayed stuck to cage rearing, and MAFF continued to follow suit. After all, neither…

Major egg producer Akita Foods alleged to have bribed the Agriculture Minster to protect battery cages in favor of Japan’s poultry industry

Japan’s leading egg producer Akita Foods is alleged to have bribed the Agriculture Minister so that the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) standard for animal welfare allows for battery cages. Subsequently, Japan submitted an opinion to OIE that chickens do not need dust-bathing litter, nesting area, or perches, and that animal welfare can be achieved even with battery cages. As a result, OIE’s original proposal, which required litter, perches, and nest boxes, changed such that these installations are only “desirable” (moreover Japan is requesting that even “desirable” be omitted). The news that a former representative of a major egg producer “Akita Foods” (Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture) handed cash to…

Can’t the Agriculture Ministry change? – Animal Welfare Committee met behind closed doors

Following the investigation report after a scandal in the egg industry, their first information exchange session about animal welfare was held. As this investigation report mentions the importance of improving transparency of the government office, this is a great way to rebuild citizens’ trust in the government. As this article explains, there was a history where some officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) were entertained by Akita Foods where they were incentivized to lower the bar for animal welfare standards. As a result, the officers made decisions without consulting the opinions by the committee of experts.  Despite this, the information exchange session was held behind closed…

Ise Foods, which confines the largest number of animals in cages in Japan, filed for corporate reorganization

In March 2022, Japan’s largest egg producer Ise Foods, faced by financial difficulted, filed for corporate reorganization, drawing much attention since. Ise Foods keeps more birds in battery cages than any other companies in Japan, counting to as many as 13 million hens. While they have begun to introduce cage-free rearing methods in the United States, the pace has been extremely slow. Given that timing, they appear to have inevitably done so as some US states announced stringent regulations that would ban the trade of cage-reared eggs. There are many ways to describe Ise Foods; the largest egg company in Japan, a frontier of the low margin high turnover business…

MAFF, unable to escape from its intimate relationship with the industry, is far from regaining trust

On 2021/6/3, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) issued the following report related to the bribery case of the former chair of Akita Foods. Regarding the release of “Report of the Verification Committee on Poultry and Egg Administration” and “Results of Additional Ethical Investigations” The media reported that the conclusion was “chicken egg bribery ‘no policy distortion’ “, but the report shows how much MAFF’s policy was distorted from the start. Questions were also asked by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Committee, all of which pointed out that the answers were ambiguous and the investigation was inadequate; nevertheless, it repeated that “the policy was not distorted”. Of course,…

Treatment of chickens in 2020 Birds are abandoned overnight at slaughterhouse

We’ve been following the issue of egg laying hens being abandoned for long hours at slaughterhouses since 2018.Unlike broiler chickens, egg laying hens have to wait overnight until they are killed at slaughterhouses. It’s a big animal welfare issue since chickens are not able to move their heads in a tiny cage for these hours. It was discussed in the diet and ultimately led to concerned ministries to release improvement notices. However, the Animal Rights Center confirmed the situations hadn’t improved so it was escalated in the diet again. As a result, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare finally conducted an on-site inspection in August 2018. Their finding was released in November…

World’s animal protection organizations request OIE to reconsider the animal welfare code for laying hens

To regain confidence in the OIE animal welfare code! Press release: 2020/12/25 Japan’s animal protection groups Animal Rights Center Japan and The Humane League Japan, and the international chicken welfare alliance Open Wing Alliance, working with six domestic animal protection groups, have pointed out to OIE that the current draft of “Chapter 7.Z Animal Welfare and Laying Hen Production Systems”, which includes Japan’s possibly fraudulent opinions, is unreliable. We requested that the items that Japan’s comments and opinions may have influenced be reviewed, and be revised to a fair standard that could truly bring about improvements in animal welfare to the world. This request letter was sent on 2020/12/24 (Japan…

Is MAFF telling the truth accurately?

On 2020/12/21, it was reported that the former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Takamori Yoshikawa announced that he would resign as a member of the Diet, and on the 22nd, he submitted a resignation request to the chairman of the House of Representatives, Tadamori Oshima, which was accepted. As the chairman Oshima was also a representative who was named to have been involved with Akita Foods in Bunshun press, this act makes one feel that there may be no clean politics. While the politician who received fraudulent money is denounced, it’s a strange society where the corporation to which the representative who gave the fraudulent money belonged can escape…

Bribery by a poultry executive afflicts chickens around the world

A former representative (then president) of an egg poultry giant Akita Foods handed about 5 million yen in cash to Japan’s former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and had entertained the Cabinet Special Advisor Koya Nishikawa, on a cruise ship. This case is directly linked to the suffering of chickens. The fact that the poultry industry and politicians profited means that there are those who suffer disadvantages, but the victims this time are the weak and the voiceless who do not speak human language; they are the chickens. The OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) states that one of the guiding principles of animal welfare is that “The use…

What happened to Japan’s comments to OIE? (with the bribe?)

In the media reports of the poultry bribe suspicion case in which the former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, had secretly received 5 million yen in cash from a former representative of the egg-producing giant “Akita Foods” (Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture), there was the following detail: There are voices that both MAFF’s argument against the OIE’s international standard on AW, and the expansion of support for large-scale producers of price difference compensation projects, “were the default route, and may not have required politicians’ intervention”. 2020/12/7 Sankei Newspaper Is this really the case? It’s true that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has backward attitude toward the world…

OIE Laying Hen Code Final Proposal: Opinions of Industry, Experts, and Animal Protection Organizations

OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) in September 2019 prepared and presented the 3rd draft of the “Animal Welfare and Laying Hen Production Systems”. The development of the “Animal Welfare and Laying Hen Production Systems” has been under discussion since 2017, and especially for the second draft last year, there were embarrassing opinions from Japan that the animal welfare standard should be significantly lowered.  Similar opinions were expressed not only by Japan but also by the United States, but Japan’s strong and backward attitude seems to have left a strong impression in the world. In response, 3rd draft was created, but the content was reduced to a level that would…

Please liberate 315 chimpanzees in Japan

Chimapanzee is very close as human being. They can use tools, their emotional expressions are almost same as human,  their love expression, sorrow, happiness, anger, and behavior when you get lost are same as human. There are 315 people of chimpanzees in Japan without proper environment and care Please boycott zoos in Japan. Pon was in Yamajigoku zoo in Beppu Onsen別府温泉 Pon was born in Africa in 1978, he was bring to Japan at 1~2 years old. His space is only about 20 ㎡, and  one tire was hanging. Though we demand to impove his situation to the zoo, the zoo did not do anything for him , their excuse was that he is…

Save mother pigs!

15 celebrities have commented against the restraint of pigs: sow stalls. Musician Masami Akita, Professor of Animal Behavior at the University of Colorado Mark Bekov , Faculty of History, Bukkyo University (Tibetan Buddhist Culture) Professor Toshinzo Onoda, Rissho University Associate Professor Muneyuki Nakamura , Princeton University Human Value Center Bioethics Professor Peter Singer, Professor Rakugo Tachikawa Hachibayashi Rakugo, Musician SunPlaza Nakano-kun, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Tokyo Prof. Masaki Ichinose, Peer Counselor Human Rights Activist Yuho Azumi, Picture Book Writer / Painter / Poet Sakiaki You, Sculptor Kumi Kanatsu, Animal Journalist Eiki Sato Tenri University Faculty of Human Studies Professor Chihiro Asakawa, Japan Women’s University…