Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 20

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21

Chapter 20 ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTES, INCLUDING PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC IN HAZARDOUS WASTES

A) Promoting the Prevention and Minimization of Hazardous Waste

The Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law, which is Japan's general law for the management of waste, was broadly amended in October 1991 as the basis for the assurance of proper disposal, the promotion of the reduction of waste, and the construction of disposal facilities, and these amendments were carried into effect in July 1992.

In addition to realizing a reduction in waste amounts and fulfilling obligations for the proper treatment of waste promoted by the national government and local authorities, the amended regulations regarding obligations concerning generated waste, which includes hazardous waste, have given the prefectural governors and the mayors of cities, towns and villages the power to instruct businesses which generate a large amount of waste to draw up plans for the reduction of waste.

Meanwhile, because of the importance of maintaining waste disposal facilities for environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, Japan, having established the Law Regarding the Promotion of the Construction of Specified Facilities for the Disposal of Industrial Waste in May 1992, will promote the establishment of facilities for reducing the amounts of hazardous wastes and eliminating the hazards of these wastes.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Hazardous waste management must be completed by those responsible for the waste.
(2)
Japan will promote the reduction of hazardous wastes and the elimination of the hazards of these wastes by positively promoting measures based on the above-mentioned laws.
(3)
Japan will conduct research and development on environmentally sound technology for waste reduction, technology for the recycling of wastes, and the adoption and spread of these technologies to further prevent and reduce the generation of hazardous wastes.

20-B) Promoting and Strengthening Institutional Capacities in Hazardous Waste Management

In accordance with the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law, wastes that have toxic, infectious or other properties potentially harmful to human health or to the environment are designated as specially controlled wastes, and such wastes are strictly managed from the stage of discharge until their final disposal.

Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
In order to further promote hazardous waste management, in addition to gradually expanding the list of specially controlled wastes, Japan will also conduct the required review of disposal standards and the standards for the management of the structure and maintenance of facilities for waste disposal.
(2)
By continuing to provide technological and financial assistance to prefectural governments, which enforce the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law, Japan will promote and strengthen institutional capacities in hazardous waste management.
(3)
By enforcing the regulations of the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law, including those which require places of business to have managers of specially controlled industrial waste, the issue of manifests commissioning the management of specially controlled industrial wastes, and the granting of licenses for businesses to handle specially controlled industrial wastes, Japan will enhance the institutional capacities in hazardous waste management.
The national and local governments will conduct studies of the computerized control of manifests and of strengthening proper administrative direction.
(4)
In accordance with the October 1991 amendments of the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law, each of the individual prefectures has the power to designate a waste treatment public center for disposing of specially controlled wastes. Utilizing applicable systems, Japan will enhance disposal capacities for hazardous industrial wastes with the participation of local authorities.
(5)
In order to promote the spread of waste disposal facilities, Japan will continue to adopt measures concerning taxation and finances.

20-C) Promoting and Strengthening International Cooperation In the Management of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes

In 1993, Japan acceded to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (the Basel Convention). Japan strictly enforces the Basel Convention by means of proper implementation of the relevant domestic laws and regulations including, in particular, the Law on the Control of Export, Import and Management of Specified Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes, which has specifically been enacted for the purpose of implementing the Basel Convention. Under the provisions of that convention, Japan prohibits the export of hazardous wastes to countries which lack appropriate disposal capabilities, and strictly applies the procedures set forth in the Basel Convention regarding the export and import of hazardous wastes which are to be recycled.

Japan presently permits the import and export of recyclable waste as a resource in cooperation with the United States and Southeast Asian countries. As long as the trade of recyclable hazardous waste is conducted by environmentally sound methods, this practice contributes to the effective use of resources, as well as to the sustainable development of developing countries, and it is believed that this conforms to the purpose of the Basel Convention.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
It is important to conduct the trade of recyclable hazardous wastes by environmentally sound methods, and from this perspective, Japan will cautiously establish technological guidelines for the environmentally sound disposal of such hazardous wastes.
(2)
Recognizing the importance of drawing up a protocol regarding the responsibilities and compensations under the Basel Convention, Japan will positively conduct activities so that possible waste pollution can be appropriately dealt with.
(3)
Japan will actively conduct the exchange of information with other countries as regards the experimentation methods and criteria for the classification of wastes and the judgment of the distinctive characteristics of the hazards of waste.
(4)
Japan will make efforts to provide multilateral and bilateral cooperation so that developing countries can achieve the capacities for waste management that are required by the Basel Convention.

20-D) Preventing Illegal International Traffic In Hazardous Wastes

Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
In order to prevent illegal transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, Japan ensures that the movements of hazardous wastes are conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Basel Convention by the proper enforcement of the Law on the Control of Export, Import and Management of Specified Hazardous Wastes. It also enforced the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law, which was amended to introduce the control of export and import of wastes. Under these legal frameworks, Japan has established a penalty regime against illegal transactions of wastes and will issue orders to collect and/or properly dispose of hazardous wastes in cases where it is particularly necessary for the prevention of damage to human health and environment.
(2)
In order to ensure that the Basel Convention is effective by improving information management systems for the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, as well as fostering human resources, Japan will promote close cooperation with related countries, the secretariat of the Basel Convention, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Regional Economic Commission.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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