Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

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Japan Offspring Fund (JOF) Monthly Newsletter
Nov. 2004, No.187

* "We want to go to the onsen!" But where are the really good Japanese hot springs? Recently, we have heard a lot about the problem of fake hot springs. This scary condition has made many people worried to get into the famous spa pools. We interviewed the expert Mr. Noguchi Etsuo about the issues concerning naturally flowing water in Japanese hot springs. As a special feature, we recommend 12 great places where you can stay for under 15 000 yen per night. We also introduce our favourite hot springs with 100 % natural water that we would like to go back to again and again! The best one? Well, it has to be this special place in Akita Prefecture: check it out at

* Mad cow troubles The public is being deceived by the inspections, so we conclude that American beef is still highly risky. We don't agree that there should be an age limit of 20 months below which cattle does not need to be tested. Japan has had 14 cases of BSE. All domestic cattle are tested and the same policy should apply to foreign beef. The risk of Japanese products being contaminated with BSE is low. Mr. Kowaka, the director of Japan Offspring Fund, is of the opinion that getting variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD) from medical equipment in hospitals due to cost-cutting and sloppy practices actually appear to be a bigger concern than safety of beef.

* No need for Codex standard for soy sauce At the October, 2004 Codex meeting of the CCPFV (processed fruits and vegetables) committee, it was decided to move the discussion about soy sauce to CCCPL (cereals, pulses and legumes). The discussions have been going on since 1998. Japan Offspring Fund can see no need for an international standard along the lines of the proposals so far. They would allow products with hydrolyzed vegetable protein as a main ingredient for soy sauce, even if such products do not include soy. In addition, such products are usually not brewed properly. In our opinion, it is false and misleading to call such products "soy" sauce. Read more here: http://tabemono.info/english/codex/soy.html

* New study about risk from mobile phones A study from the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, found that 10 or more years of mobile phone use increase the risk of acoustic neuroma and that the risk increase was confined to the side of the head where the phone was usually held. This is the first report from the Swedish part of the so called INTERPHONE study, an international collaboration coordinated by WHO’s cancer research institute, IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer). The IARC results should be ready by 2005.


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