The revered status of rice in Japanese society makes uncertain how the public will respond to genetically modified rice in their local shops. However, the Japanese have historically welcomed improvements to rice while viewing its importation with more suspicion. Thus, by forming a 50-50 joint venture located in Shizuoka, Japan with Japan Tobacco, Zeneca Agrochemicals may have avoided a contentious issue.

Together, the two companies have an extensive collection of fungal disease control genes that will form the first focus for the venture, said Jon