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  5. FY 2019 Reports on Storage of Mercury or Mercury Compounds and Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources in accordance with the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act

FY 2019 Reports on Storage of Mercury or Mercury Compounds and Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources in accordance with the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act

March 30, 2021

The Minamata Convention on Mercury (hereinafter referred to as the “Minamata Convention”) entered into force on August 16, 2017, and so did the Act on Preventing Environmental Pollution of Mercury (hereinafter referred to as the “Mercury Pollution Prevention Act”).

The Mercury Pollution Prevention Act requires persons who store mercury or mercury compounds  or persons who manage mercury-containing recyclable resources to take appropriate measures to prevent environmental pollution from mercury and mercury compounds, towards the proper implementation of the Minamata Convention, which comprehensively regulates the entire life cycle of mercury.

Persons who store mercury or mercury compounds above a certain amount or manage mercury-containing recyclable resources are also required to periodically report the status of storage or management to the Competent Ministers.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) hereby jointly release the summary of the FY2019 Reports on the Storage of Mercury or Mercury Compounds and the Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources, which is the third report since the implementation of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act. In addition, there are some updates in the press release on “FY 2018 Reports on Storage of Mercury or Mercury Compounds and Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources according to the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act” dated on February 14, 2020, which are detailed in this press release.

1. Background

Mercury and mercury compounds can be emitted from various sources into the environment and circulate globally without decomposing. They also accumulate in organisms through the food chain. Therefore, the Minamata Convention was adopted at a Diplomatic Conference held in Japan in 2013 to address mercury pollution at the global level.

The Minamata Convention is designed to comprehensively control anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle including mining, trade, use, emissions, releases, disposal and other processes. In order to ensure the proper and smooth implementation of the Convention, Japan has been taking various measures comprehensively and systematically based on various laws and regulations, including the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act.

In order to prevent environmental pollution from the storage of mercury and mercury compounds, the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act requires persons who store mercury or mercury compounds to take appropriate measures to prevent dispersion and leakage of mercury, and regularly report the status of storage to the Competent Ministers, in light of the Technical Guidelines on Measures to be Taken to Prevent Environmental Pollution due to Storage of Mercury or Mercury Compounds (Public Notice of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Defense No. 1 of 2015).

The Act also requires persons who manage mercury-containing recyclable resources to take appropriate measures to prevent dispersion and leakage of mercury-containing recyclable resources and to regularly report the status of management to the Competent Ministers, in light of the Technical Guidelines on Measures to be Taken to Prevent Environmental Pollution due to Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources (Public Notice of the Cabinet Office; Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Defense No. 1 of 2015).

2. Overview of the Reporting System

i. Storage of mercury or mercury compounds

When the maximum amount of each type of mercury or mercury compounds stored at each business place during a fiscal year exceeds 30 kg, a report on the status of storage must be submitted by each business place to the Competent Minister by the end of June of the following fiscal year, pursuant to Article 22 of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act.

ii. Management of mercury-containing recyclable resources

When mercury-containing recyclable resources are stored or otherwise managed during a fiscal year (including cases in which the management of such resources are outsourced), a report on the status of management must be submitted by each business place to the Competent Minister by the end of June of the following fiscal year, pursuant to Article 24 of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act.

3. Summary of the FY2019 Reports (see the Appendix for details)

The summary of the FY2019 reports, which is the third report since the enforcement of the Mercury Pollution Prevention Act, is as follows. The reporting period is from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

i. Storage of mercury or mercury compounds

Reports on the storage of mercury or mercury compounds were submitted by 79 business places nationwide. The total amount of mercury or mercury compounds stored was reported to be 47,195.0 kg. By type, 73 reports were on mercury, and 7 were on mercury sulfide. One business place reported that it had stored both mercury and mercury sulfide. There were no reports on the storage of other types of mercury compounds (mercury (I) chloride, mercury (II) oxide, mercury (II) sulphate, mercury (II) nitrate and mercury (II) nitrate hydrate). It was confirmed that measures for the environmentally sound storage of mercury and mercury compounds had been taken.

ii. Management of mercury-containing recyclable resources

Reports on the management of mercury-containing recyclable resources were submitted by 240 business places nationwide. Types of recyclable resources reported include: sludge from non-ferrous metal smelting and roasting processes, dental amalgam, mercury used for analysis, mercury recovered from products, silver oxide batteries, and others.

The number of reports submitted by type and the corresponding amount managed, as of the end of the fiscal year, were as follows: sludge from non-ferrous metal smelting and roasting processes: 9 reports, 408,998.0 kg (wet); dental amalgam: 192 reports, 82.9 kg (wet) and 111.6 kg (dry); mercury used for analysis: 17 reports, 1,430.4 kg (wet) and 9.5 kg (dry); mercury recovered from products: 7 reports, 111.8 kg (wet); silver oxide batteries: 14 reports, 636.0 kg (wet) and 1,179.5 kg (dry); and others: 3 reports, 836.6 kg (wet) (Some business places were found to manage multiple types of mercury-containing recyclable resources. Therefore, the total number of business places that submitted reports and the total number of reports do not correspond.). It was confirmed that measures for the environmentally sound management of mercury-containing recyclable resources had been taken.

4. Updated Summary of the FY2018 Reports

Some businesses submitted additional reports or information on the FY2018 Reports on the Storage of Mercury or Mercury Compounds and the Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources after the summary of FY2018 reports was released. Accordingly, the updated summary is described below (updated data are indicated in red and italic letters).

i. Storage of mercury or mercury compounds

Reports on the storage of mercury or mercury compounds were submitted by 91 business places nationwide. The amount of mercury or mercury compounds stored, as of the end of the fiscal year, was reported to be 40,452.0 kg total. By type, 85 reports were on mercury, and 7 reports were on mercury sulfide. One business place reported that it had stored both mercury and mercury sulfide. There was no report on the storage of other types of mercury compounds (mercury (I) chloride, mercury (II) oxide, mercury (II) sulphate, mercury (II) nitrate and mercury (II) nitrate hydrate). It was confirmed that measures for the environmentally sound storage of mercury or mercury compounds had been taken.

ii. Management of mercury-containing recyclable resources

Reports on the management of mercury-containing recyclable resources were submitted by 855 business places nationwide. Types of recyclable resources reported include: sludge from non-ferrous metal smelting and roasting processes, dental amalgam, mercury used for analysis, mercury recovered from products, silver oxide batteries and others.
The number of reports submitted by type and the corresponding amount managed, as of the end of the fiscal year, were as follows: sludge from non-ferrous metal smelting and roasting processes: 10 reports, 426,230.0 kg (wet); dental amalgam: 802 reports, 32.5 kg (wet) and 231.6 kg (dry); mercury used for analysis: 18 reports, 1,731.3 kg (wet) and 12.5 kg (dry); mercury recovered from products: 7 reports, 131.8 kg (wet); silver oxide batteries: 15 reports, 1,309.0 kg (wet) and 870.0 kg (dry); and other mercury-containing recyclable resources: 5 reports, 338.0 kg (wet) (Some business places were found to manage multiple types of mercury-containing recyclable resources; therefore, the total number of business places that submitted reports and the total number of reports do not correspond.). It was confirmed that measures for the environmentally sound management of mercury-containing recyclable resources had been taken.

5. Updated Summary of the FY2017 Reports

Some businesses submitted additional reports or information on the FY2017 Reports on the Management of Mercury-Containing Recyclable Resources after the summary of FY2017 reports were released. Accordingly, the updated summary is described below (updated data are indicated in red and italic letters).

i. Storage of mercury or mercury compounds

Reports on the storage of mercury or mercury compounds were submitted by 92 business places nationwide. The amount of mercury or mercury compounds stored, as of the end of the fiscal year, was reported to be 46,352.3 kg total. By type, 87 reports were on mercury, and 6 reports were on mercury sulfide. One business place reported that it had stored both mercury and mercury sulfide. There was no report on the storage of other types of mercury compounds (mercury (I) chloride, mercury (II) oxide, mercury (II) sulphate, mercury (II) nitrate and mercury (II) nitrate hydrate). It was confirmed that measures for the environmentally sound storage of mercury or mercury compounds had been taken.

ii. Management of mercury-containing recyclable resources

Reports on the management of mercury-containing recyclable resources were submitted by 561 business places nationwide. Types of recyclable resources reported include: sludge from non-ferrous metal smelting and roasting processes, dental amalgam, mercury used for analysis, mercury recovered from products, silver oxide batteries and others.
The number of reports submitted by type and the corresponding amount managed, as of the end of the fiscal year, were as follows: sludge from non-ferrous metal smelting and roasting processes: 9 reports, 246,627.0 kg (wet); dental amalgam: 509 reports, 64.2 kg (wet) and 777.0 kg (dry); mercury used for analysis: 20 reports, 2,916.8 kg (wet) and 22.0 kg (dry); mercury recovered from products: 5 reports, 168.2 kg (wet); silver oxide batteries: 16 reports, 5,175 kg (wet) and 3,312.0 kg (dry); and other mercury-containing recyclable resources: 4 reports, 735.3 kg (wet) (Some business places were found to manage multiple types of mercury-containing recyclable resources; therefore, the total number of business places that submitted reports and the total number of reports do not correspond.). It was confirmed that measures for the environmentally sound management of mercury-containing recyclable resources had been taken.

Note:
1. Mercury, mercury (I) chloride, mercury (II) oxide, mercury (II) sulphate, mercury (II) nitrate and mercury (II) nitrate hydrate, mercury sulphide, and mixtures of these whose concentrations exceed 95%, and cinnabar.
2. Mercury or mercury compounds, or objects containing these substances, which fulfill certain requirements regarding mercury concentration, are disposed of or intended to be disposed of through disposal operations set forth in Annex IV B to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (excluding waste prescribed in Article 2, paragraph (1) of the Waste Management Act, radioactive materials, and objects contaminated with radioactive materials), and are useful.
3. The amount of mercury-containing recyclable resources managed at the beginning of the fiscal year (as of the enforcement date for the initial year after the enforcement), the amount generated, the amount received, the amount transferred, the amount for which disposal operations were performed, the amount that became waste, the amount managed as of the end of the fiscal year, the purpose of the management, etc. (written in wet or dry weight depending on the status of management)
4. The amount of mercury-containing recyclable resources managed at the beginning of the fiscal year (as of the enforcement date for the initial year after the enforcement), the amount generated, the amount received, the amount transferred, the amount for which disposal operations were performed, the amount that became waste, the amount managed as of the end of the fiscal year, the purpose of the management, etc. (written in wet or dry weight depending on the status of management)
5. For dental amalgam, part of the reported weight included the weight of their containers

Division in Charge

Office of Chemical Management Policy Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau