Toxic Trade News / 29 November 2006
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Call for Removal of Tariff Reduction for Wastes from the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA)
Japanese Citizen Groups Joint Appeal
29 November 2006 – Not only people and the Senators in the Philippines but also the international community have expressed concern over the JPEPA’s listing of hazardous wastes as products for tariff elimination in export from Japan to the Philippines despite the principles and decisions of the Basel Convention to regulate transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. It is highly likely that JPEPA opens a door for export of hazardous waste from Japan to the Philippines by eliminating trade barriers in waste. It is an unavoidable concern as the Japan was accused of attempting an illegal export of medical waste to the Philippines in 1999.

The Japanese government has ratified the Basel Convention, adopted in Basel, Switzerland in 1989 in response to numerous international scandals regarding hazardous waste trafficking that began to occur in the late 1980s. It has, however, yet to ratify the Basel Ban decision, which effectively banned as of 1 January 1998 all forms of hazardous waste exports from the most industrialized countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to all non-OECD countries. Along with the US, Canada, and Australia, Japan has made great efforts to attack the Ban Amendment.

Also, at the G8 meeting held in Tokyo in April 2005, Japan proposed a global waste management policy, called the 3R Initiative, one of whose objectives is “to reduce barriers to the international flow of goods and materials for recycling and remanufacturing, recycled and remanufactured products.” It aims to impose a burden of hazardous waste and obsolete end-of-life products onto developing countries by promoting export of waste and products for the sake of establishing “a sound materialcycle society” at the regional and global levels.

Moreover, it is obvious that Japan is seeking to use bilateral free-trade agreements like in the case of the JPEPA to build a waste management and disposal system within the Asia region for mounting piles of obsolete products and waste generated in Japan.

Both the Basel Convention and the Japan’s Waste Management Law clearly state the principle and obligation of the achievement of national self-sufficiency in hazardous waste management. Japan should develop its own capacity to manage its own hazardous wastes within its own borders. Nevertheless, its attempt to avoid the responsibility for wastes generated within Japan by shifting the responsibility to developing countries is not impermissible from the environmental justice standpoint.

We ask the Japanese government to do the following:

  1. Immediately removing all waste trade liberalization provisions from the JPEPA

  2. Commit not to include waste in any bilateral free-trade agreements between Japan and
    developing countries in the future

  3. Strictly comply with the principle of national self-sufficiency in management of waste
    and recyclable products, and thus abandon such waste management policies that rely on
    developing countries

  4. Prioritize the reduction of waste generation and promote 3R-related policies aimed at
    enhancing the domestic waste management capacity and material cycle within the border

  5. Completely remove from the 3R initiative all references to eliminating or
    reducing trade barriers for wastes and cease efforts to liberalize waste trade globally

  6. Ratifying the Basel Convention’s Ban Amendment and putting a total ban on export of
    hazardous waste for any reasons including for recycling


For more information: Takeshi YASUMA (Citizens Against Chemical Pollution),
Phone +81-45-362-3123, E-mail:

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