The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF) signed off on Friday on the final approval necessary for the first transgenic plants to be approved in Japan. The step is expected to smooth the path for future approvals and sales to one of the world's largest agricultural export markets.

A group of six products from five manufacturers was ushered through the Japanese regulatory process simultaneously. On April 1, MAFF granted environmental approval for the products, and on Sept. 3, the Ministry of Health and Welfare granted food safety approval. When MAFF approved use of the products for