Prof. Dr. Kazuo N. Watanabe

University of Tsukuba, Japan

Prof. Dr. Kazuo N. Watanabe is a research professor at Tsukuba Plant Innovation Research Center & Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan. He is native in Japan, and after undergraduate study in Japan, he completed the doctoral course at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988, and had worked both in South and North Americas. He has been serving as an adjunct professor on Plant Breeding and International Agriculture at Cornell University since 1992. He also had been affiliated with United Nations University and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute as a honorary member up to 2015. After based in Japan, he has been working on multidisciplinary research on genetic resources and biotechnology with biodiplomacy concept and ELSI. He also has served at a part-time basis at various international organizations for technical consultation on biotechnology, genetic resources and rural development such with AFDB, FAO and CGIAR. Also with his professional experience, technical consultation has been provided to public organizations on agricultural and biotechnological development at developing countries via bilateral ODA through JICA. Generally he has a global working experience over one hundred nations and territories.

Biotechnology and genetic resources are vital technology and resources for food, health and environment, and Prof. Watanabe continues his efforts to promote understanding over S&T significance, compliance and ELSI over the subjects as his biodiplomacy activity.

While he has been working with genetic engineering research on plants since early 1990’s, with the modern biotechnology regulations, he has been engaged in the negotiation and implementation processes on Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety since the Jakarta mandate of CBD in 1995. He had engaged deeply in the Protocol negotiation and establishment processes as a member of Japanese delegation, and he continued his role under GoJ at COPMOPs of CPB after the effectuation of the Protocol. He was an expert member at RA&RM AHTEG during 2008-2012 period under CPB. 

On demonstrating the compliance over LMOs in Japan, he had made the first case on the government approval of field testing of LMO trees in Japan under MEXT which was followed by many academic agencies to use the demonstrated procedures for field trials of plants in Japan. Since then, continuously he practices the field testing of LMO plants in Japan. 

Besides the biotechnology regulation, he also has been in the genetic resources dossiers at CBD and FAO IT PGR FA as a delegation member at GoJ, and he also serves for Japanese and international academic communities to assist understanding on ABS on genetic resources by using his professional experiences at several international genebanks and field expeditions in many developing countries. As a token of his capacity, he had received Japanese first case of IRCC under Nagoya Protocol from Mexico in 2017.