Joint press release with the Ministry of the Environment Cabinet Decision on the Bill for the Act of Partial Revision of the Act on Control of Export, Import and Others of Specified Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes
On March 10, 2017, the Cabinet decided to approve the Bill for the Act of Partial Revision of the Act on Control of Export, Import and Others of Specified Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes (domestic law for implementing the Basel Convention; hereinafter referred to as the “Basel Convention Act”). The bill will be submitted to the 193rd ordinary session of the Diet.
1. Purpose of the bill
The Basel Convention Act is a domestic law to ensure the enforcement of the provisions under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
As about 25 years have passed since the establishment of the Basel Convention Act in 1992, the amount of international trade of secondary resources, e.g., scraps containing non-ferrous metals, has been growing. Along with this, both the import and export volumes involving such resources are also increasing in Japan, and in this trend, the following circumstances and public needs are emerging.
Concerning exports, some cases involving the improper trade of such wastes have been discovered, as seen in an increase in the improper exports of metal scraps mixed with unsorted various materials originated from e-wastes, take-back requests from the destination countries which inform and claim illegal traffic of Basel-controlled items, and the environmentally-unsound handling of used lead-acid batteries in destination countries.
Concerning imports, meanwhile, as the global competition has been more intense to win resources, e.g., waste printed circuit boards containing precious metals, Japanese businesses have been requesting the government to improve the current competitively-disadvantageous business environment caused by the complicated import procedures.
Against this backdrop, the bill proposes to revise the coverage of specified hazardous wastes and other wastes, establish a new certification system for importers and recovery operators, and take other measures, in order to introduce further appropriate export control of hazardous wastes and other wastes and to simplify the existing import procedures concerning hazardous wastes and other wastes for recycling purpose.
2. Outline of the bill
- Revision of the coverage of specified hazardous wastes and other wastes
- The revised Act is to expand the coverage of the specified hazardous wastes to include the wastes specified as hazardous ones under the convention uniquely in destination countries and to require businesses to obtain export approval for such wastes. Along with this, it is also to define controlled targets legally for improving transparency.
- The revised Act is to amend the coverage of controlled targets to remove the requirements of obtaining import approval for waste printed circuit boards, etc. for recycling operation.
- Introduction of further appropriate regulations over the exports of specified hazardous wastes and other wastes
- The revised Act is to explicitly stipulate items concerning the destination countries’ domestic measures that the Minister of the Environment should check for preventing environmental contamination.
- Establishment of a new certification system for the imports of specified hazardous wastes and other wastes, and relaxation of import procedures thereof
- The revised Act is to establish a new certification system targeting importers and recovery operators. Under this system, certified importers are not required to obtain import approval when they intend to import any specified hazardous wastes for recycling operation by certified recovery operators.
3. Effective date
The revised Act will come into force on the day specified by Cabinet Order within a period not exceeding 18 months from the date of promulgation.
March 10, 2017
Division in Charge
Environmental Protection Guidance Office, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau