There is a very interesting series on NPR, which is also being podcast, called "The DNA Files". The whole series is interesting, but the show called "Food in the Age of Biotechnology" is a very good summary of genetic modification. Past failures, current issues and future possibilities are all dealt with, while still allowing the listener to come to his or her own conclusion.
My personal opinion is that there is great promise in genetically modified foods, but the products which have made it to market so far have benefited farmers more than consumers, leading to the backlash. When clearly superior products, which are only available by genetic modification, start to hit the market, some consumers might change their attitudes on the subject.
Japan attitudes are closer to those of people in Europe than those in the US. No Japanese company wants to sell genetically modified food, but with so many commodities coming from the US, genetically modified ingredients are hard to avoid.