Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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Chemical Management Policy

Chemical Management Policy

The Necessity for Management of Chemical Substances  

As chemical substances contain many excellent properties, these substances are in widespread use in a variety of industrial fields and in many aspects of everyday life. Despite the great social benefits of these chemical substances, however, there are those that are harmful or hazardous to humans and the environment, including animals and the ozone layer. By making such chemical substances safer and reducing the amount of exposure of harmful or hazardous substances to humans and the environment, it is possible to minimize the overall risk.
In order to ensure the safe use of chemical substances, it is of paramount importance to evaluate the risk of individual chemical substances based on stringent toxicity and exposure tests, and to implement appropriate management systems based on the results of these evaluations. Appropriate management systems would include regulations on production and import of chemical substances, recommendations for usage and storage methods, control of emissions with adverse environmental impact, and suitable notification of harmful or hazardous substances.

The Thought Processes behind a Chemical Management Policy  

To ensure the effective use of chemical substances and to minimize the adverse impact of such substances, it is essential to implement laws that regulate the production and use of chemical substances which may be harmful or hazardous to humans and the environment. In such cases, it is of vital importance to stress the necessity of a chemical management system to the entire international community to avoid obstructions to the smooth production and both domestic and international distribution of chemical substances.
As can be seen with the depletion of the ozone layer over the Antarctic due to the emissions of fluorocarbons by various countries, it is possible for chemical substances to be transmitted on a global scale due to such activities as emissions and trading practices. The efficacy of chemical management systems implemented by individual countries is limited when confronted by chemicals which affect people and the environment on a global scale, and it is therefore necessary that the international community join together in their efforts to counter this problem.
It is also imperative that the international community cooperate closely with regard to substances that may be used in conjunction with chemical weapons for terrorist purposes.
In addition, it is necessary to implement a rational management system for chemical substances based on scientific risk evaluations. It is currently estimated that approximately 20,000 types of chemical substances are distributed within Japan alone. However, the adverse impact on humans and the environment of many these substances remains unclear. In order to implement preventive measures regarding hazardous substances and to avoid the establishment of excessive regulations due to lack of knowledge, it is vital that the international community cooperate to effectively and efficiently gather and collate information regarding hazardous substances.
Consequently, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is currently conducting the following measures in line with its establishment of a Chemical Management Policy.

  1. Implementation of a legislative system on the management of chemical substances that will be emphasized to the international community.

  2. Proactive participation in plans for international efforts aimed at the management of chemical substances.

  3. Gathering and collating scientific knowledge and information regarding risks to ensure enhanced effectiveness of the management of chemical substances.

The Benefits of a Chemical Management Policy  

It is anticipated the Chemical Management Policy being implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will have the following benefits:

  1. Through the establishment of laws regarding the management of chemical substances, we will be able to regulate the production and use of substances which are harmful or hazardous to humans and the environment, and promote self-management practices among industrial manufacturers and users. This will result in the establishment of preventive measures to ensure neither humans nor the environment are exposed to harmful or hazardous substances.
    By encouraging international cooperation with the Japanese legislative system, it is anticipated that this will lead to the promotion of a standardized international chemical management system. In addition, through the standardization of testing methods and the international exchange of data between countries regarding hazardous chemical substances, we will be able to reduce the burden on individual countries to conduct further unnecessary tests during the import and export of chemical substances.

  2. By actively participating in international efforts regarding the management of chemical substances and promoting the cooperation of individual countries regarding chemical management, we will be able to effectively and efficiently enhance management of chemical substances. This will be far more effective than relying solely on the testing practices of individual countries.

    International cooperation is particularly essential with regard to the effective management of emissions of fluorocarbons, which impact greatly on both humans and the environment, and materials which can be used in the production of chemical weapons.
    In addition, increased international efforts to gather, analyze and share knowledge and information on hazardous substances would alleviate the necessity for repeated tests on the same substances. This would further lead to the enhancement of the effectiveness of managing chemical substances.

  3. By collating scientific knowledge on hazardous substances, we will be able to learn the precise risks involved in individual chemical substances. This will enable the establishment of rational management systems (including the regulation of facilities) which respond precisely to the risks contained in chemical substances.

Last updated:2014-11-11
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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