The U.S. Grains Council is hosting a team of Japanese journalists and one producer on a tour of U.S. agriculture. The group is receiving a firsthand look at the role of U.S. biotechnology in relationship to the growing global demand for feed, food and fuel.

The group is meeting with U.S. corn farmers, biotech seed companies and USDA officials. “The team is receiving a good outlook on the future of biotechnology and how it is accepted in the United States,” said Hiroko Sakashita, USGC associate director in Japan.

Sakashita is accompanying the group on visits to Washington, D.C., Missouri and Iowa.

“Based on the facts the journalists are gathering from this mission, they can better raise public awareness and promote acceptance of biotech corn in Japan through the dissemination of unbiased information,” she said.

According to Sakashita, biotechnology is better understood in Japan now compared to the past, and there is a general acceptance of biotech corn for feed purposes. However, there is still a negative perception about the new technology for food and human consumption.

Since April, Japanese wet miller Kato Kagaku Co. Ltd. (also known as Kato Chemical) and Nihon Shokuhinkako Co. Ltd. (also known as NSK) announced they would start accepting non-segregated commodity corn to use for some of their production due to a tighter supply of conventional corn and high corn prices.

Both companies buy corn for production of starch, sweeteners supplied to beer breweries, soft drink manufacturers and various processed foods used in industry sectors.