... is what the average Japanese is spending on Fair trade goods, while people in Switzerland spend almost 3000 Yen per person (per year), according to Bizmakoto.jp.
My supermarkets all have Fair trade coffee and I have seen chocolate in a couple of stores as well.
But that's about it.
In my Food safety ranking book, I rank Fair trade coffee from Ogawa Coffee Co. higher than the other products. It is organic and their mocca blend is a fantastic way to start the day. This is a Kyoto-based company but they sell all over Japan. If your local supermarket doesn't have Fair trade coffee, let them know about it!
In Europe, the Fair trade movement has many "World Shops" with toys, clothes and other stuff imported and labelled especially to support small-scale farmers and producers in third world countries. They are often linked to Christian churches with missionaries. For better or worse, Europeans have a long history of exchange with rural communities in Africa in particular, as well as Latin America or South East Asia. This could explain why Japan is not as forward about Fair trade certification: no history of missionary work, and the colonial era (except for Korea) was brief, at least compared to Holland and the UK, countries with a strong Fair trade movement. Yet, it doesn't explain why Switzerland would be so far ahead - I suppose they also sent many Christian missionaries to third world countries, just like the Scandinavian countries used to do.
In Sweden, "church coffee" has been a tradition since the early 20th century. People meet for a chat and a cup of coffee at events sponsored by the local church. Perhaps a returning missionary priest shows slides and talks about his experiences (Many early books about Japan and China were written by people from such backgrounds, with stories using terminology like "the natives" or "pagan ceremonies" that seem amusing today). Since the 1990s church-related events increasingly serve Fair trade certified coffee as a way to show that they care about ethical issues.
Imported Fair trade items are certified by organizations that comply with standards set up by FLO-CERT GmbH, an independent certification body, which carries regular inspections. For example, FLO believes GMO crops are incompatible with Fair trade and has adopted strict environmental standards and guidelines expressly forbidding their use and monitoring GMOs in nearby fields to avoid any possible contamination.
What is important is that the consumer can be sure that the producer is getting paid properly for making the certified product. A fair price for a product is one that covers the producer’s cost of sustainable production. On top of the production costs, FLO establishes a premium, which is invested in social, economic or environmental projects of improvement (such as local schools), decided upon democratically by producers within the organization or workers within the plantation.
There are active Fair trade companies in Japan as well, for example Aspiro, a Lutheran (!) producer of footballs made without child labour, and the People Tree "Fair Trade Fashion Pioneer" that I have written about before. Did you know they have a boutique in Omotesando, the fashion centre of Tokyo? Global Village is another site with lots of information about Fair trade events, workshops and products available in Japan.
Child Labour Campaign:
The main event of the World Day Against Child Labour Campaign in Japan was held on 6th June in Tokyo, by Child Labour Network (CL-Net), the ILO office in Japan and NGO-Trade Unions International Collaboration Forum. All tickets were sold out as soon as the event was opened and about 400 people participated in it. This event was organized as a combination of movie and symposium. The movie "Children of the Dark (Yami no Kodomotachi) " is a story about child trafficking and organ trade involving children in Thai and Japan.
As a part of the World Day Against Child Labour Campaign, the symposium on "The situation of child labour and advocacy for the elimination of child labour -learning from experiences in India and EU" was held on Saturday 27th June at Hosei University. It was organized by the Child Labour Network (CL-Net) and the Ohara Institute for Social Research of Hosei University, and supported by the Citizen’s Fund Grand and Japan Airlines. About 50 people turned out for the symposium.
Read more: stopchildlabour.jp (in English)
More links about Fair trade in Japan
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe