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Press Release

Bill Partially Amending the Waste Management and Public Cleansing Law

March 1, 2004

Japan still faces a disturbing trend in waste disposal, such as extremely limited capacity of final disposal site and high incidences of heinous illegal dumping. In order to solve these problems, a bill to partially amend the Waste Management and Public Cleansing Law is to be adopted at the Cabinet meeting on March 2, 2004. The bill, scheduled to be submitted before the 159th ordinary Diet session, includes State's larger involvement in addressing inappropriate waste treatment cases, emergency measures in dealing with accidents occurred at waste treatment facilities, and tougher punishment aimed at eradicating illegal dumping. The gist of the amendment is as follows:

1.    State's larger involvement in addressing inappropriate waste treatment cases
The national government shall strive to provide local governments with necessary assistance and coordination from an extensive point of view. One of the new concrete measures in this line is that the Minister of the Environment may give a necessary guidance to a prefectural government when there arises a serious case of inappropriate industrial waste treatment and an immediate action is required.

2.    Solving problems of waste treatment facilities
Any person, who plans to convert the site used in the past as a terminal landfill to another purpose in use, shall notify a prefectural governor of that effect. The governor may order an alteration of the plan unless it meets the set standard.

When an accident takes place at a waste treatment facility and the living environment of the vicinity may be affected, the installer of the facility shall immediately take emergency measures and inform a prefectural governor of the accident. The governor may issue necessary orders pertaining to the emergency measures.

Any person, who is assigned as a new manager of a waste treatment facility which has been left unattended but has no structural defect, shall be exempted from some parts of the process to obtain permission for installing the facility.

3.    Tougher punishment aimed at eradicating illegal dumping
Tougher punishment shall be imposed upon any person who disposes of hazardous waste such as sulfate acid pitch in non-compliance with the standards, or who collects or transfers waste with intention of illegal dumping or incineration.

Note:    This bill passed the Diet without any amendments and was promulgated on April 28, 2004.

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