Key players

The Status of Cellular Agriculture Industry in Japan and
Our Selected Activities to Accelerate the Industry Growth


Intro of Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture (JACA). 

Cellular Agriculture Ecosystem in Japan. 

Why can’t we sell cultivated food in Japan now?. 

Selected activities of JACA to encourage the Japanese Government to build consensus on how to face the Cellular Agriculture Industry. 

  • PJ Safety. 
  • Policy Recommendations to the Liberal Democratic Party (the ruling party in Japan). 
  • Sharing foreign agencies about some issues of the industry in Japan, which might harm some investment and trading opportunities between the two countries. 
  • Supporting Prof. Igimi’s study. 

 How to join and support JACA.

  • Steps to join JACA.
  • Membership categories. 
  • Activities by committees. 

JACA is an industrial organization established last Dec with 59 corporate members (as of 4 November 2023). We also have academic supporters from cell culture and food safety. JACA also administers the “Cellular Agriculture Working Team” under the Food-tech Public-Private Council, hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

JACA creates policy recommendations and industrial guidelines to build the cell ag industry in Japan. We communicate with various Ministries such as the ones that oversee Health and Food, Economy, as well as the Consumer Affairs Agency, Food Safety Commission, politicians, other industry organizations, and top 4 consumer organizations. We have 7 committees, working on Safety, Definition and Labelling, Nomenclature, Food brand protection, Osaka Expo, Consumer Communication, and International Strategy. The function of some of the committees will be explained at the “Selected JACA activities through committees”.

JACA overview

The most updated corporate members list of JACA:

Selected members are as below.

JACA selected members

In May 2023, JACA held an inaugural meeting to show our interest in Cellular Agriculture to the Ministries and other potential business operators in the field, in response to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s announcement in February 2023 of the intention to develop the domestic cultivated food industry. The event included an introduction of JACA and congratulatory speeches from Norihiro Nakayama, The Executive Director of Japan’s Parliamentary Group for Cellular Agriculture; the representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; and Japanese food majors such as NH Foods Ltd. and Ajinomoto Co., Inc. A panel discussion including seafood major Maruha Nichiro Corporation followed.

Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture convenes key stakeholders for “Made in Japan” or “Wagyu-like” cultivated meat, in response to Japan PM Kishida’s intention to promote the industry – May 2023

There are mainly five companies that are developing related technologies and products, by collaborating with external business parties and academia. There are only two startups in Japan which


Integriculture, a startup with food-grade-ingredients-based culture medium production company, collaborating with their consortium members (House Food – food company, Nissan Chemical – chemical company, Ebara – industrial pump company, etc.) as well as Prof. Shimizu from Tokyo Women’s Medical University

Cultivated Foie Gras (Integriculture, May 2023)
Cultivated beef and chicken (Prof. Shimizu from Tokyo Women’s Medical University, May 2023)


Diverse Farm co-established by Tissue By Net (Regenerative Skin company), Abe Farm (“阿部農場”, chicken farmer), and UNKAKU (michelin-starred restaurant)

Cultivated Chicken (before and after grilled) (Diverse Farm, May 2023)


  • Fujimori Kogyo, TOPPAN Holdings, and Shimadzu Corporation jointly proposed “Research and Development for Social Implementation of Cellular Wagyu Beef Meat (hereafter, the ”Project“)” to the “Bio Manufacturing Revolution Promotion Project“, which was publicly funded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) via New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
  • The three companies will work together with Osaka University, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo University of Agriculture, and the Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture (JACA) to conduct research and development under an all-Japan framework
  • Some of the members of the funded project are from “Consortium for Future Innovation by Cultured Meat”, which is led by Osaka University, Shimadzu, Itoham Yonekyu, Toppan, and SIGMAXYZ

3D-bio printed cultivated “Wagyu” (Consortium for Future Innovation by Cultured Meat, May 2023)


Prof. Takeuchi lab at the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo collaborates with Nissin Foods Group

(Source of image: NHK, April 2022)


Hyperion FoodTech which develops Bovine Embryo-derived stem cell for Engineered Food (BEEF cell)


JGC HOLDINGS CORPORATION and its subsidiary (Organoid Farm), collaborating with Prof. Tekebe Takanori from Yokohama City University, which holds mass cell culture technology and Prof. Chihiro Akazawa from Juntendo University (Medical University)

In addition, various other types of business companies have announced their entry into the market one after another since 2020. We estimate at least 60 companies are interested in the cultivated food field, based on the number of corporate members of JACA, which is the only organization specifically focused on creating policy recommendations and industrial guidelines for cultivated food based in Japan.

In response to the growing activities of the private sector, ministries and politicians also started to take action.

​The Liberal Democratic Party established an all-party parliamentary group with c.20 politicians in June 2022, to allow tasting, selling, and promoting cultivated food for food security concerns. This group is led by former secretary general of LDP, Akira Amari, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, and an expert of the livestock and dairy industry, Ryosei Akazawa. Norihiro Nakayama, former Senior Vice-Minister.of State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, who is an expert on economic security issues and serves as the Secretary-General of the group.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) set up a public-private council for food tech industry in Oct. 2020, which includes a Cellular Agriculture Working Team, led by JACA.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) allocated 300 billion yen in the second supplementary budget for FY2022, to support biotechnology-led manufacturing industry including cellular agriculture. The fund supports “Research and Development for Social Implementation of Cellular Wagyu Beef Meat (hereafter, the ”Project“)”, which was jointly proposed by Fujimori Kogyo, TOPPAN Holdings, and Shimadzu Corporation in collaboration with JACA.

Food Safety Commission, technical and academic advisor to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, have adopted a study on risk assessment methods for cultivated chicken, conducted by Prof. Igimi from Tokyo University of Agriculture. This study was originally submitted as a three-year study, but was adopted as a two-year project.

Last but not least, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) conducted an online session regarding the evaluation of the hazards and risks of cultivated food last December. Discussion has been made at “Investigative Subcommittee on Newly Developed Foods, Subcommittee on Food Sanitation, Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council”. The discussion was led by Satoshi Kitajima, “Toxicology Department, National Center for Safety and Biological Testing and Research, National Institutes of Health”, who recently announced a comparison report.

The MHLW’s team responsible for creating a new standard for novel food will be transferred to the Consumer Affairs Agency in April 2024. Consumer Affairs Agency and Food Safety Commission is directed by the Cabinet Office, which may change the decision-making process and timeline of cultivated food since Prime Minister Kishida, who is the head of the Cabinet Office, commented on his motivation to support the cellular agriculture field in February of this year. In addition, because of the METI-funded project for the cultivated “Wagyu” led by Fujimori Kogyo set one of their KPI as to provide tasting experiences during the Osaka Expo 2025, the Government of Japan cannot avoid supporting the agenda of cultivated food for the coming years.

Even with such progress happening in Japan, we still cannot sell cultivated food domestically. Why? Although there is no law against it, the private and public sectors, especially MHLW, which oversees food safety, haven’t agreed on how to understand that the food is safe. If a company starts sales and tasting of the food based on their own standards in such a situation, consumer groups may be afraid and make inquiries to the government. When the government to answer such inquiries, if there is no consensus on the evidence that cultivated foods are safe between industry and the government, MHLW can activate Food Sanitation Act Article 7.

“Article 7 (1)When things which have not generally been served for human consumption and have not been proven to be unlikely to cause harm to human health or things including those things have newly come to be sold or are going to be sold as food, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare may prohibit the sales of those things as food, by hearing the opinions of the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council, when the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare finds it necessary to prevent food sanitation hazards.”

Thus the cell-ag industry in Japan needs to organize the consensus about the concept of safety among industry, government, especially the MHLW and Food Safety Commission, and academia, and publish it in a form that can be communicated to consumers.

However, such consensus building is hard, since motivating MHLW to set up a team to communicate with the industry and each company frequently is challenging. This is because almost none of the domestic players have the established manufacturing process and the final product, making MHLW uneasy about assessing safety. Such an immature state of the domestic cultivated food development won’t make MHLW feel urgent to discuss the safety. Thus, they cannot allocate more people to this field, making it difficult for corporations to invest more in the field. Of course, some Japan-based companies collaborate with overseas startups that have more established product prototypes. Thus, collaboration with overseas startups and solution providers to persuade the domestic government is one of the keys to overcoming the status.

  • PJ Safety

JACA is currently taking various initiatives to encourage the Japanese Government to build consensus on how to face the Cellular Agriculture Industry.

First, JACA aims to propose strategies to policy & industry stakeholders on how Japan should face the growing potential of sustainable novel food by accumulating information, creating industrial guidelines, and making policy recommendations. Currently, JACA is proceeding with “PJ Safety” to collect information from publicly available data, and each developer company of the food about “how they understand the safety of cultivated food” and its quality management measures. JACA will then translate such safety-related insights into Japanese, and review it under the local regulations, together with large Japan-based corporations with accumulated experience in the food and medicine area. JACA created a “Code of Conduct” for the interviewees to feel safer and help them extract the needed safety-related thoughts, from their internal accumulated knowledge including their trade secrets.

Overview of the process of PJ Safety

We need contributors to PJ Safety, especially to our interview about how each company considers the safety of cultivated food. We will translate and interpret it under Japanese law, to create a consensus on how to understand safety and we will submit it to the government. The interview will be conducted under an NDA (which will be provided to you by JACA) and follow the Information Survey Sheet and the Code of Conduct, which can be downloaded below. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you are interested in the Japanese market and making some contributions to our work. We want the contributors to fill in the Information Survey Sheet following the Code of Conduct and set at least an online meeting with our external partner by the end of December 2023.

Information Survey Sheet and the Code of Conduct

Contact: admin/at/ (please replace /at/ to @)

  • Policy Recommendations to the Liberal Democratic Party (the ruling party in Japan)

JACA was asked to share policy recommendations toward an all-party parliamentary group for cellular agriculture in the Liberal Democratic Party. The drafted key recommendation asks MHLW or the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) to open an official point of contact for the cultivated food developers (domestic and overseas) by establishing a pre-consulting process. This is for the government to collect information about how each company understands the safety of cultivated food, including some information that an industry organization like JACA cannot access.

  • Sharing foreign agencies about some issues of the industry in Japan, which might harm some investment and trading opportunities between the two countries

JACA aims to encourage overseas governments to engage with the Japanese government in discussions of the harmonization of rules, such as the definition (HS code, etc.) and safety measures, to create a better environment for novel food trading and international collaborations among countries. JACA also aims to encourage each government to encourage each other to manage communications with domestic industries, to achieve a global sustainable food supply system.

  • Supporting Prof. Igimi’s study

JACA also trying to support some of the government-funded food safety evaluation research of cultivated food regarding finding the cultivated cells provided to the study. Prof. Igimi of the Food Safety Research Center (FSRC) of Tokyo University of Agriculture, commissioned by the Food Safety Commission (FSC) of the Cabinet Office, conducts the only research currently undertaken in Japan to confirm the safety evaluation method of cultivated food products (as far as the writer knows). Prof. Igimi’s research involves Transcriptome analysis, Proteome analysis, and Metabolome analysis of cultivated cells that may be used for the cultivated food marketed in Japan. The results are to be used to advise the FSC on how to assess the safety risks. The FSRC is helping the Japanese Government to advise the safety analysis checkpoints and to understand “to what extent that the government would need to check the result of the safety test for the market launch of a cultivated food product”.

They believe that comprehensive analysis results would be necessary as a basis for advice about the safety checkpoints of cultivated food. This is because they need to understand about “what the cultivated food is”, before establishing some safety checkpoints for the food category. Thus, it doesn’t mean that the comprehensive analysis terms would become the safety checkpoints requested for every cultivated food product in the future. This analysis is partly to convince the Government to eliminate some of the unnecessary testing requirements for the launch.     

Prof. Igimi is currently looking for companies interested in providing samples of their products to be reviewed by the Food Safety Commission before further verification of the safety of cultivated foods in Japan and the establishment of a formal regulatory framework. If you can contribute to his study as a cell provider, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Steps to join JACA
  1. Let us know your intent to join JACA and the type of membership category you would like to get
  2. JACA admin will send you the membership form. Please fill it in and send the PDF back to us
  3. JACA will send you the invoice. Once the payment is made, you will be our member
  4. You may be asked to fill in some administrative format to update you on JACA’s membership list and emailing list, etc.
  • Membership categories

Full membership
¥1,200,000/y (c.$8,000/y)

  • Out of over 50 membership corporates and academia (as of 22 June 2023),
    • 71% of JACA membership companies selected Full-membership
    • 89% of non-Japanese companies selected Full-membership
  • The information shared with full-membership companies includes much information informally collected through various external organizations, such as government officials, politicians, consumer organizations, etc., based on our trust and reputation. Thus we cannot give you detailed examples here without your signed membership form with the NDA clause, but the insights that JACA get by communications with various industry may largely affect your view on the timeline for the Japanese government to get ready for the market launch environment of cultivated food.
  • Be informed about detailed information on industry and regulatory trends/updates, as well as information obtained in the course of activities is shared (excluding trade secrets)*, such as
    • Real-time information obtained through discussions with relevant domestic ministries and agencies (MAFF, MHLW, Consumer Affairs Agency, METI, Cabinet Office, etc.), industry associations (consumer groups, livestock, and fishery-related parties, etc.)
    • Real-time information obtained through discussions with overseas regulatory authorities, standardization bodies, and international organizations
    • Be informed about opportunities to participate in closed round tables with domestic and foreign policymakers, companies, and intellectuals
SFA Chairman made a courtesy visit to JACA to discuss our policy recommendation toward the government and some members from the Quality Control Committee joined the opportunity
  • Opportunities to participate in various committees
    • Since committees are mainly conducted in Japanese, overseas membership is offered to participate in Monthly-Update Meetings for the progress of each committee discussion
  • Full Membership will cover opportunities provided to Observers

¥360,000/y (c.$2,400/y)

  • Participation in regular semi-annual and year-end meetings
  • Commenting opportunities on policy recommendations semi-finalized by JACA committee members
JACA submits policy recommendations to Ministries and politicians’ group
  • Participation opportunities in various networking/strategy/other types of meetings, such as
    • JACA held an invitation-only event on 22 May 2023 with key members of the ruling party in Japan and government officials from Japan and abroad, as well as R&D,

Management, and Strategic Offices members from various corporates and startups

    • Invitation-only strategy and networking event during SIAW in Singapore among Japan-based and overseas JACA members
    • One-on-one catch-up meetings with specific issues for the Japanese market entry if necessary
  • Prompt support for public relations activities
    • JACA advised, joined, and supported member companies’ communications to the government, politicians, including a cabinet minister, and public media
    • If opportunity allows, we proactively introduce JACA members to more engaging opportunities with the key stakeholders (For example, we are sometimes asked by government officials to coordinate companies to visit for their business trips to overseas)
  • Activities by committees

Quality Control Committee (Food Safety)


  • Gather scientific knowledge for the safe production and distribution of cultivated food products through the collection and analysis of domestic and international food safety information, and share it widely with stakeholders (PJ Safety)

Examples of materials and opportunities that the committee members have access to

  • discussion opportunities to improve JACA’s guidance of the safety of cultivated food to implement your safety-related agenda as “Japan-based Cellular Agriculture Industry’s Opinion”,
  • information such as the meeting records between JACA and Ministries and relevant organizations (such as MHLW and CAA),
  • translated materials of studies under the Food Safety Committee, MHLW, and other important stakeholders, and
  • meeting opportunities with critical stakeholders pertinent to the safety discussion of cultivated food (such as MHLW, CAA, and professors leading government-funded studies for the safety), etc.

Definition and labelling


  • We will examine the best way to provide clear labeling rules for consumers and aim to build a consensus on them

Examples of materials and opportunities that the committee members have access to

  • discussion opportunities to improve JACA’s guidance of the labeling of cultivated food to implement your agenda/food category as “Japan-based Cellular Agriculture Industry’s Opinion”, and
  • information such as the meeting records between JACA and Ministries and relevant organizations (such as CAA and some Consumer Organizations), etc.



  • In determining the name of cultivated food products, we do not simply translate the terms used overseas but will consider factors such as the manufacturing methods of cultivated foods and the acceptance of Japanese consumers, and explore a rational and understandable nomenclature of cultivated food in Japanese while aiming for unified usage by domestic stakeholders

Examples of materials and opportunities that the committee members have access to

  • opportunities to customize JACA-led consumer studies for your understanding toward the Japanese market, and
  • consumer research result conducted by JACA, etc.

Property Protection


  • We will consider a framework to protect the intellectual property rights of branded animal cells. In other words, a mechanism is needed to prevent a situation where branded-animal cells are used without permission of the animal farmers or with any scheme that the farmers would consider it as exploitation

Examples of materials and opportunities that the committee members have access to

  • discussion opportunities to build policy recommendations, and
  • updated status of discussions between the MAFF and JACA, etc.

Promotion of


  • We will actively share the state of cellular agriculture industry in Japan to international stakeholders, while collect industry trends information for domestic consumers and other stakeholders, after carefully examining the source of the information
  • By sharing the progress and efforts in Japan with overseas stakeholders, we aim to secure Japan’s presence in international consensus building scenes

Examples of materials and opportunities that the committee members have access to

  • Meeting notes between JACA and CAA, MHLW, and some of the consumer organizations, and
  • commenting opportunities to JACA’s public communications documents, etc.

International Strategy


  • We set this committee to share among JACA members some of the best or even failed practices of communication with the authorities, etc. to improve JACA’s strategy to promote cellular agriculture 

Osaka Expo


  • An initiative to leverage the opportunity of national showcase, Osaka Expo 2025 to promote the cellular agriculture industry​