Toxic Trade News / 1 November 2006
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Environment Groups Slam Japan on Toxic Waste Dumping
by Philippine Chronicle
1 November 2006 – The Basel Action Network (BAN), a Seattle, US-based organization, yesterday refuted the Japanese government's claim that it does not allow export of hazardous waste export to another country.

"This is not true," said Jim Puckett, BAN coordinator. "We have documented regular exports of metallic scrap containing hazardous wastes from Japan to Taizhou, China. These exports are taking place to this day," added Puckett.

BAN, which is campaigning against trade in toxic wastes, products and technologies, pointed out that the Japanese statement does not say that Japan is willing to remove the offending language eliminating tariffs on wastes, and that Japan is not interested in exporting wastes of any kind to the Philippines or to other developing countries.

"The Philippines has a waste import ban and it is highly suspect that Japan insists on language which directly challenges this ban. It is telling that Japan has not offered to expunge this language if there intent is pure and as they say the language is meaningless," observed Puckett.

"The fact is JPEPA (Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement) is a treaty that could well trump the national laws of the Philippines. Further, it begs a WTO challenge of the Basel Convention. Japan's refusal to eliminate this language and renounce waste trade to developing countries speaks volumes," added Puckett.

Ester Perez de Tagle, founder of the Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (COCAP), a partner group of the Ecowaste Coalition warned that "JPEPA is a blanket invitation to turn the Philippines into Japan's dumpsite when our own laws prohibit Filipinos from putting up dumpsites and incinerators."

BAN and the Tokyo-based Asia Waste Watch issued on Monday a statement of concern regarding the provisions liberalizing waste trade under the JPEPA.

The Ecological Society of the Philippines, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Mother Earth Foundation, and the Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan has since endorsed the said statement.

The concerned environmental groups from Japan, Philippines and USA are asking both the Philippine Senate and Japanese Diet not to ratify the agreement until all listings of waste are expunged from tariff reduction provisions.

They are also seeking a full impartial multi-stakeholder inquiry in both Japan and the Philippines to determine how such provisions were included in the JPEPA, who promoted them and through which argumentation.

Furthermore, the groups are demanding that Japan and the Philippines must both ratify the Basel Convention's Ban Amendment at the earliest possible date to send a strong message of intent to uphold the principles of the Basel Convention on environmental justice and national waste management self-sufficiency.

The Basel Ban prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes for recycling from developed to developing countries. The ban, adopted by the second Conference of Parties of the Basel Convention in 1995, is viewed as vital for two primary reasons:

1. To prevent damage to the environment and human health caused by the disproportionate export and disposal of hazardous wastes to countries that did not create them and where there was less infrastructure and resources to mitigate the great risks associated with such wastes.

2. To prevent waste generators from avoiding taking responsibility to minimize the generation of hazardous wastes through clean production technologies and methods, by externalization of their.

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