My attention was called to the article published in your paper last 28 September 2007, entitled “Nuclear waste triggers debate on Japan deal” written by Fel V. Maragay.
Maragay attributes to Roger Birosel the series of empirical data showing Japanese dumping of toxic wastes in China and other Asian countries.
I was quite surprised to see the attribution considering that the toxic waste export data was the substance of the testimony I gave as an invited resource person to the Senate Committee hearing the JPEPA last September 27.
The toxic waste data proves that Japan’s reassurances of not exporting toxic wastes in compliance with its laws and international commitments such as the Basel Convention are empty. Japan’s true intent is to exploit these very laws in placating suspicions of toxic waste dumping, and to utilize loopholes, such as exports in the guise of recycling, to move their toxic effluent to the rest of Asia.
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the data Maragay mistakenly attributed to Birosel. The toxic waste exports from Japan to China were illegal shipments. The 4,000 tons of municipal wastes that was intercepted in 2004 by Chinese customs authorities were contaminated. Municipal wastes are one of the waste items that Japan insisted on being included in the JPEPA, and are one of the many wastes that will receive immediate 0% tariff if JPEPA is ratified.
The Hong Kong toxic waste data from 2000-2003 are also illegal shipments. These shipments were all misdeclared as some other type of waste. These illegal shipments from Japan indicate that Japan is wrestling with its own gargantuan waste generation and disposal problem, and unscrupulous entities are looking for ways to send and spread the wastes out of Japan. JPEPA is a prime vehicle for this type of trade.
I would kindly request that your paper publish this letter as an errata to the 28 September article.
Richard Gutierrez, JD. Ll.M.
Basel Action Network, Asia-Pacific