Health & Chemicals

Statement by the Minister of the Environment about the Cabinet Decision on the Conclusion of the Minamata Convention on Mercury by Japan

At today's Cabinet meeting, the Government of Japan decided to conclude the Minamata Convention on Mercury, following the approval of the conclusion by the National Diet last year. The instrument of acceptance of Japan will be deposited to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the near future.

The Minamata Convention is very meaningful instrument to control an entire lifecycle of mercury including mining, use in products and manufacturing processes, emissions to the atmosphere, disposal as wastes, and thus, calling on the countries to cooperate with each other to reduce mercury use and emissions/releases in order to reduce risks to the human health and the environment.

The year 2016 is the 60th year after the official acknowledgement of Minamata Disease. Japan has led the negotiation process of the Convention through sharing experiences in mercury management upon the lessons learned from Minamata Disease with the severe impact to the human health and the environment. I would like to express my deep gratitude to all of those who worked hard for Japan's early conclusion of the Minamata Convention.

For the effective implementation of the Minamata Convention, it is indispensable to have broader participation not only of developed countries but also of developing countries that comprise the major consumers and emissions/releases sources of the mercury. Japan will continue to support developing countries through the identification of mercury use and emissions/releases and of needs for mercury management measures, as well as through the development of a mercury monitoring network. Those supports would enable the developing countries to implement adequately the Minamata Convention and encourage them to conclude it.

Last year in 2015, the Government of Japan established a new act, the Act on Preventing Environmental Pollution of Mercury, and amended the Air Pollution Control Act and the Cabinet order under the Waste Management Act, which include further measures beyond the Minamata Convention. With determination to be a global leader of mercury management, Japan will implement steadily domestic measures to control mercury.

We are committed to further advancing the global mercury management with our fullest efforts so that the severe environmental pollution and human health impact caused by mercury such as the case of Minamata Disease will never be repeated in any part of the world.

2 February, 2016
Minister of the Environment, Japan
Tamayo Marukawa

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