Joint press release with the Ministry of the EnvironmentCabinet Decision on the Bill for the Act for Partial Revision of the Act on Ensuring the Implementation of Recovery and Destruction of Fluorocarbons concerning Designated Products
On April 19, 2013, the Cabinet decided to approve the Bill for the Act for Partial Revision of the Act on Ensuring the Implementation of Recovery and Destruction of Fluorocarbons concerning Designated Products. In response to the approval, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) are jointly to submit the bill to this session of the Diet.
Emissions of fluorocarbons with high greenhouse effects, mainly from refrigerants used for air conditioning and refrigeration units, are rapidly increasing. Concerning such background, the bill aims not only to recover and destroy fluorocarbons from and in commercial air conditioning and refrigeration units when they are disposed based on the current Act, but also to take measures in each step of manufacturing and use of fluorocarbons as well as products using them. Thus, the bill will promote fundamental measures covering the whole life cycle of fluorocarbons, from their manufacturing to disposal.
1. Outline of the revision
The name of the Act is revised to the Act for Rationalized Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons, and comprehensive measures covering the total life cycle of fluorocarbons from their manufacturing to abolishment will be conducted. Specifically, the revised Act is to encourage entities involved in each procedure of the life cycle to carry out the following efforts:
1) Entities that manufacture and import fluorocarbons
The revised Act requests these entities to reduce the environmental load through their efforts, such as technology development and manufacturing of fluorocarbons with lower greenhouse effects, and recycling a certain amount of used fluorocarbons.
2) Entities that manufacture and import products using fluorocarbons, e.g., air conditioning and refrigeration units
The revised Act requests these entities to change from products using fluorocarbons, such as freezer showcases, to those with no-fluorocarbons or low greenhouse effects, by certain target fiscal years set by each category of products.
3) Users that manage commercial air conditioning and refrigeration units
The revised Act requests users of commercial air conditioning and refrigeration units using fluorocarbons to endeavor to properly manage such units through proper their installation and inspection, and the smooth repair of broken units, so as to prevent the leakage of fluorocarbons. It also requests some users who meet certain requirements to submit an annual report concerning the amount of fluorocarbons leaked. The data will be compiled and disclosed by the Government of Japan.
4) Proper filling of air conditioning and refrigeration units with fluorocarbons and proper recycling of used fluorocarbons
The revised Act introduces a registration system* for entities who fill commercial air conditioning and refrigeration units with fluorocarbons as well as a permission system for entities who recycle fluorocarbons.
*Note: Current "Category I recovery operators" are renamed as "Category I filling or recovery operators," and only the operators that register in advance will be entitled to conduct services to fill products with fluorocarbons, such as filling air conditioning and refrigeration units with refrigerant fluorocarbons for the purpose of maintenance.
2. Effective date of the revised Act
The effective date of the revised Act shall be specified by a Cabinet Order within a period not exceeding two years from the day of promulgation.
3. Reference: Details about fluorocarbons
Fluorocarbons are fluorinated gases which are categorized into dozens of types according to the structures. Due to their safety (non-toxic and non-flammable properties) and high performance, they are widely utilized in various products, including refrigerants for air conditioning and refrigeration units (e.g., air conditioners and refrigerators), sprays, and heat insulation materials.
Mainly for refrigerants for air conditioning and refrigeration units, specified fluorocarbons*1 with ozone-depleting and strong greenhouse effects (thousands to tens of thousands times higher than those of carbon dioxide) are being replaced by alternative fluorocarbons*2 with no ozone-depleting effects but with strong greenhouse effects.
*1 CFC: chlorofluorocarbons, HCFC: hydrochlorofluorocarbons
*2 HFC: hydrofluorocarbons
April 19, 2013
Division in Charge
Fluoride Gases Management Office, Chemical Management Policy Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau