PRTRs, a mechanism designed to identify the sources and amounts of potentially hazardous chemical substances released into environmental media or transferred as waste, provide the necessary data for evaluating the risk to human health and the environment. While supplementing the regulatory framework, PRTRs will accelerate the introduction of technology for environmental protection and serve as a yardstick for evaluating the development of environmental administration and the fulfillment of environmental objectives. In order that PRTRs can deliver these functions, it is important for all parties concerned to participate in improving the system.
The objectives of the pilot project were to verify the entire PRTR process; solve problems regarding technical matters; deepen the understanding of PRTRs by citizens, businesses, and administrative bodies; share common knowledge; and cultivate a basis for facilitating the implementation of PRTRs in Japan. These objectives seemed to have been met. In particular, with the pilot project stimulating discussion, and the Environment Agency undertaking activities to raise awareness and understanding, citizens and businesses seem to have considerably more awareness of PRTRs now than at the start of the pilot project. In terms of the evaluation, the Central Environment Council and other bodies will contribute their ideas to the discussion regarding an appropriate system for implementing PRTRs. Based on the outcome of discussion, a PRTR system suitable for Japan will be established.
To work towards the introduction of PRTR, the pilot project shall be continued through 1998 and beyond to build a basis for the implementation of PRTRs. Meanwhile, the Environment Agency is soliciting ideas from citizens for naming the PRTR system. No name has been decided at this point, but this will be one task to complete before a PRTR system is officially launched in Japan.
The opinions of citizens included in this report will be taken into consideration in the continuation of the pilot project and subsequent discussions on PRTRs. We thank you for your lively ideas and suggestions, and invite you to suggest ideas for PRTRs and countermeasures for environmental risks posed by chemical substances.