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Bill Partially Amending the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act

March 2, 2009

A bill partially amending the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act is expected to be adopted by the Cabinet on March 3rd, 2009 and submitted to the 171st Session of the Diet. The bill covers the expansion of the system for discovering soil contamination, clarification of the needed measures by classifying regulated areas, and the establishment of regulations for ensuring the appropriate treatment of contaminated soil, etc.

Summary of the Amendment
1. Expansion of the System for Discovering Soil Contamination
[1] Any person who takes action that changes the character of land being over certain size shall be required to notify a prefectural governor. In this case, if the prefectural governor finds that the land threatens to contaminate soil, the prefectural governor may order the Owner, etc. to conduct an investigation of the site.
[2] When the Owner, etc. finds soil contamination based on the spontanious investigation, the Owner, etc. may apply to the prefectural governor to designate the land as a regulated area.
2. Clarification of the Needed Measures by Classifying the Regulated Area
Prefectural governors shall classify the land as an area which needs measures to remove or contain the contamination to be taken, or as an area for which notification is necessary when any person plans to change the character of the land, in such cases that the land's contamination by a Designated Hazardous Substance does not conform to the standards. In terms of the area which is needed to be take such measures, prefectural governors shall indicate to the Owner, etc. to take some measures to prevent health hazards.
3. Establishment of Regulations for Ensuring the Appropriate Treatment of Contaminated Soil
[1] Any person who plans to carry contaminated soil out of a regulated area shall be required to notify the prefectural governor in advance, to obey the standards of transportation and to entrust someone who is licensed in the contaminated soil treatment business to treat the contaminated soil, etc.
[2] Establishing a license system for contaminated soil treatment businesses.
4. Others
Establishing the due process of renewing the designation of Designated Investigation Institution, etc.
5. Date of Enforcement
The date specified by the Cabinet Order is within a period not exceeding a year from the day of promulgation (however, the provisions of the application for the license for contaminated soil treatment businesses shall come into force as from the date specified by the Cabinet Order within a period not exceeding six months from the day of promulgation).

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