Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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Recycling Policy
Key Issues and Current Status
1. Promoting Recycling of Individual Product Categories
Promoting the 3Rs based on Extended Producer Responsibility
We are promoting the 3Rs based on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) through addressing the 3Rs from the design stage; sharing the resposibility among players, including consumers, local and central governments; enhancing the 3Rs efforts of industry by creating an enabling environment; and taking "integrated product policy" (IPP) into account.

Addressing Difficult-to-Dispose Items
For items that municipalities find difficult to dispose (such as automotive lead batteries, spring mattresses, and aerosol cans, etc.), we will examine the actual conditions for each item and take actions, such as revising the METI Recycling Guidelines and designating certain items under the Law for the Promotion of Effective Utilisation of Resources, including measures at the design and manufacturing stages.

Promoting Recycling by Special Measures under the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law
To enhance the impact of efforts to promote recycling, we work to actively apply procedures to designate nation-wide recycling permits and to certify certain recycling operations under the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law.
Current Status
To promote the 3Rs based on extended producer responsibility, it is important to assess the characteristics of each product category, including its flow of distribution, in establishing and advancing recycling schemes. For this, we are taking new measures to promote initiatives for each product category, such as the revision in September 2003 of the METI Recycling Guidelines (By Product Category), and development of a new recycling scheme for automotive lead batteries.

We also revised the METI Recycling Guidelines (By Sector), and established new targets, including an approximately 90% reduction compared to fiscal 1998 in the amount of waste bound for final disposal sites from the automobile manufacturing industry, and plan to take additional measures in 18 other industries.

Regarding implementation of these recycling schemes for each category of materials, we are also considering proactively applying procedures to certify designated nation-wide recycling permits, a system that was revised recently after amendments in the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law
2.Further Progress with Strategies 'Upstream' (Design and Manufacturing Stages)
Establishing Quantitative Targets Using the 3Rs at the Design and Manufacturing Stages
We will consider establishing targets considering the 3Rs at the product design and manufacturing stages, and as required, take measures to add such targets to the METI Recycling Guidelines and/or the ministerial ordinance of criteria for designated products of the Law for the Promotion of Utilisation of Recyclable Resources. In addition, to reduce the amount of hazardous substances used, we will continue to examine options, taking into consideration trends relating to the European Union's RoHS Directive (Restrictions on the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment).

Strategies for Imported Products
Regarding products that have a relatively high ratio of imports to domestic production, we will consider measures to set criteria, as required, for designated products under the Law for the Promotion of Effective Utilisation of Resources. Due consideration will be given to the status of product imports and the capabilities of importers.
Current Status
Some companies are proactively incorporating the concept of the 3Rs at the design and manufacturing stages, as one can see by reading their environmental reports. But today, such initiatives still depend mainly on the efforts of individual companies, and no common methods have yet been established to quantitatively compare evaluations of designs that incorporate the 3Rs. To support such designs and manufacturing, and to make improvements in the information provided to consumers, among other things, it is important to establish standard quantitative indicators relating to 3R characteristics of each type of product. In this context, during this fiscal year METI plans to consider specific methods to establish standard quantitative indicators, using home appliances and other products as model cases.

Regarding reduction in the use of hazardous substances, efforts to address some products are already being made under the METI Recycling Guidelines but more efforts are needed here. This fiscal year, we plan to check on the status of use and management of hazardous substances in Japan, as well as the status of legislation of EU member countries for the RoHS Directive, to revise strategies to address hazardous substances from the perspective of recycling policies, and to consider measures at upstream stages such as design and manufacturing.

Regarding measures dealing with imported products, we will work to add more substance to the responses stated above, and give them the same attention as products produced in Japan.
3. Strategic Use of Standards for the 3Rs
To expand demand for products that incorporate the 3R concepts (including at the design stage), and to help maintain a leading role for Japanese industry, we will work strategically in developing environmental standards and in activities for standardization at the international level.
Current Status
The ninth meeting of the Environment and Resources Expert Subcommittee, under the Standardization Committee of the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee met on 8 April 2003, and revised the Action Program for Creation of Environmental JIS. This program includes the preparation of a Medium-Term Plan for the Development of Environmental JIS, which includes more than 200 topics relating to standardization, and a review of guidelines for development of environmental standards in each field of technology.

In the future, we will work in collaboration with key organizations, including the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the National Institute of Technology and Innovation (NITE), and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), to deal strategically with international activities for standardization.
4.Creating Local Resource-Recycling Systems
We will verify results to date regarding the development of innovative local resource-recycling systems, and will consider how to improve frameworks to encourage new initiatives.
Current Status
With regard to solutions for waste and recycling issues, it is important to integrate recycling-oriented businesses into local economies to the greatest extent possible, while considering special circumstances affecting local governments. So far, using the Eco-Town program and other initiatives, we have supported the development of local resource-recycling systems by local governments.

In recent years, there have been more and more cases of initiatives by local governments actively fostering waste-related and recycling projects, such as actions by local governments to encourage sustainable recycling-oriented businesses by promoting cooperation between local companies with citizens, and efforts for local stimulation of such recycling-oriented businesses. A number of issues relating to support from the central government have been pointed out.

As a result, there are plans to create a new "Expert Subcommittee on Local Recycling-Oriented Businesses" within the Industry and Environment Sub-Committee of the Industrial Structure Council to deal with issues relating to future support for local recycling-oriented businesses. It will evaluate the results and impacts of initiatives to date, and report during the current fiscal year.
Besides the items mentioned above, we have started consideration of the topics stated below.
(1) Revision of the Industrial Structure Council's Proper Disposal Guidelines for Waste Emitting Companies
Regarding responses to cases in recent years of improper waste disposal, such as illegal dumping, METI will summarize the points that must be dealt with, from the perspective of waste emitting companies, in order to execute proper handling of waste and recycling.
(2) Getting the Facts on Exports of Recyclable Resources
Japanese exports of "recyclable resources" to Asian countries are increasing rapidly. METI will conduct joint research with the Ministry of the Environment in order to better understand situation, starting with the state of exports to China.
3R Policies
- Overview of 3R Policies
- Key Issues and Current Status
- Japan's Progress Toward a Sustainable Society
- Eco Town Program
- Local 3R Support Program
- Awards Programs
- METI Recycling Guidelines
- Identification
- October is "3R Month" in Japan
Industrial Structure Council
White Papers and Other Report
Information materials
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Last Update: October 1, 2004
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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