Laws :Environmental Policy

Environmental Impact Assessment Law_Chapter 1

Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1
(Purpose)
Because it is extremely important, in terms of protecting the environment, for a corporation that is undertaking a project that changes the shape of the terrain or that involves the construction of a new structure, or that is engaging in other similar activities, to conduct an environmental impact assessment in advance of such a project, the purposes of this law are to ensure that proper consideration is given to environmental protection issues relating to such a project and, ultimately, to ensure that present and future generations of this nations people enjoy healthy and culturally rewarding lives. In order to achieve these purposes, this law sets forth procedures and contains other provisions designed to clearly define the responsibilities of the government regarding environmental impact assessments and to ensure that such assessments are conducted properly and smoothly with respect to large-scale projects that could have a serious impact on the environment, and prescribes measures to reflect the results of such environmental impact assessments in implementing such projects and in determining the content of such projects.

Article 2
(Definitions)

1. In this law, "environmental impact assessment" shall mean the process of (a) surveying, predicting, and assessing the likely impact that a project (hereinafter meaning changes in the shape of the terrain [including dredging being conducted simultaneously], and the establishing, modifying, and expanding of a structure for specific purposes), will have on various aspects of the environment (if the purpose of the project includes business activities and other human activities on the project land or within a project structure after the implementation of a project, the impact of such activities is included) (hereinafter referred to simply as "environmental impact"); (b) studying possible environmental protection measures relating to the project; and (c) assessing the likely overall environmental impact of such measures.

2. In this law, "Class-1 Project" shall mean a large-scale project (in this and the following paragraph, scale shall mean the measurable aspects of a project, such as the land area to be altered and the size of any structure(s) to be built) that is designated by government ordinance as likely to have a serious impact on the environment and that is one of the following:

(1) A project in any of the following categories:

(a)
A project to construct or reconstruct a national expressway, a national road, or another type of road prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Road Law (Law No. 180 of 1947), or any other type of road;
(b)
A project to construct a dam across a river, as prescribed in Article 3, Paragraph 1 of the River Law (Law No. 167 of 1964), to construct or reconstruct a dam (hereinafter in this Item referred to as "a new-dam construction project"), or to construct or reconstruct river waterworks prescribed in Article 8 of the same law, provided that such a waterworks project is not a new-dam construction project;
(c)
A project to construct or improve a railway as prescribed in the Railway Enterprise Law (Law No. 92 of 1986) or railway tracks as prescribed in the Railway Tracks Law (Law No. 76 of 1921);
(d)
A project to construct or modify an airport or airport facility prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Airport Construction Law (Law No. 80 of 1956);
(e)
A project to construct or modify a power generating structure to supply electricity to corporate entities, as prescribed in Article 38 of the Electricity Enterprises Law (Law No. 170 of 1964);
(f)
A project to construct, modify, or expand a final domestic-waste disposal site as prescribed in Article 8, Paragraph 1 of the Waste Management and Public Cleansing Law (Law No. 137 of 1970) or a final industrial-waste disposal site as prescribed in Article 15, Paragraph 1 of the same law;
(g)
A project to reclaim or dump public waters as prescribed in the Public Waters Reclamation Law (Law No. 57 of 1921) or to reclaim or dump other waters;
(h)
A land readjustment project as prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Land Readjustment Law (Law 119 of 1954);
(i)
A project to develop a new urban residential area as prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the New Urban Residential Area Development Law (Law No. 134 of 1963);
(j)
A project to construct an industrial estate as prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 6 of the Law Concerning the Development of Suburban Development and Redevelopment Areas and Urban Development Areas in the National Capital Region (Law No. 98 of 1958) or in Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Law Concerning Development of Suburban Development and Redevelopment Areas and Urban Development Areas in the Kinki Region (Law No. 145 of 1964);
(k)
A project to develop a new urban infrastructure prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the New Urban Infrastructure Development Law (Law No. 86 of 1972);
(l)
A project to construct a distribution-business center as prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 2 of the Law Concerning Construction of Distribution Business Centers (Law No. 110 of 1966);
(m)
In addition to those enumerated in (a) through (l) above, a project designated by government ordinance as having an environmental impact over a broad area and as requiring an environment impact assessment as much as the projects listed in (a) through (l) require such assessment.

(2)A project in any of the following categories:

(a)
A project (other than those in (e) below) whose implementation is subject to license, special permit, permission, authorization, approval, or reporting in accordance with the provisions of laws that are designated by government ordinance (in the case of reporting, limited only to projects subject to specific legal provisions authorizing a recommendation or order to amend a report within a specified time following the filing of the report; this limitation also applies to (e) below).
(b)
A project (other than those listed in (a) above) that is eligible for a government subsidy (hereinafter meaning a subsidy prescribed in Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 1 of the Law on Optimizing Implementation of Budgets Relating to Subsidies, etc. (Law No. 179 of 1955) and the amount borne by the national government as prescribed in Item 2 of the same paragraph).
(c)
A project implemented by a corporation established by a special law (but limited to projects in which the national government has invested), except those projects referred to in (a) and (b) above.
(d)
A project implemented by the national government (except those projects referred to in (a) above and (e) below).
(e)
A project of the national government, the implementation of which is subject to license, special permit, permission, authorization, approval, or reporting in accordance with the provisions of laws that are designated by government ordinance.

3. In this law, "Class-2 Project" shall mean a project that (a) meets the requirements of one of Items (a) through (e) of the preceding Paragraph 2 (2); (b) is on a scale commensurate with that of a Class-1 Project (but limited to projects whose scale is above the threshold level of a Class-1 Project as determined by government ordinance); and (c) for which a determination as to whether it will have a serious impact on the environment (hereinafter referred to simply as "determination") must be made by a person or persons as prescribed in the Items (1) through (5) of Article 4, Paragraph 1 below, in accordance with the provisions of that Article 4.

4. In this law, "relevant project" shall mean a Class-1 or Class-2 Project for which action has been taken pursuant to Article 4, Paragraph 3, Item (1) below (including application mutatis mutandis of the provisions of Article 39, Paragraph 2, except for projects for which action is taken pursuant to Article 4, Paragraph 3, Item (2) below in accordance with Article 4, Paragraph 4 below [including application mutatis mutandis of the provisions of Article 39, Paragraph 2 below] and Article 29, Paragraph 2 [including application mutatis mutandis of the provisions of Article 40, Paragraph 2 below]).

5. In this law (except in this Chapter), "proponent" shall mean a person seeking to implement a relevant project (in the case of a relevant project implemented by the national government, the head of the administrative organization implementing the relevant project [including local sub-branches]) or, in the case of a consigned relevant project, the person seeking to consign the project).


Article 3
(Responsibilities of the National Government and Other Parties)
Fully recognizing that it is important for an environmental impact assessment to be conducted before a project is implemented, the national government, local governments, proponents, and citizens shall endeavor from their respective positions to ensure that such an environmental impact assessment is conducted properly and smoothly, and that other procedures stipulated in this law are properly and smoothly followed, in order to avoid or to reduce as much as possible the environmental burdens resulting from the project, and in order to assist in giving proper consideration to the protection of the environment in regard to the implementation of the project.

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