Subject: [cwj 19] Police grill exporter of industrial waste to Philippines
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 18:07:47 -0700
Seq: 19

4 articles on toxic exports from Japan to Philippines, including an article
about the suicide of one of the related company's president

Police grill exporter of industrial waste to Philippines -
  UTSUNOMIYA, Japan, May 16 2000 

  Police on Tuesday started questioning the president of Nisso Ltd., a
  now-bankrupt industrial-waste disposal company in Oyama, Tochigi
  Prefecture, on suspicion of illegally exporting toxic waste to the
Philippines last
  Police said Hiromi Ito, 50, was arrested in Niigata on Monday night and
  to the Oyama Police Station, where Tochigi and Nagano prefectural police
  jointly set up a squad to investigate the case. 

Arrest warrant issued for exporter of waste to
  Philippines - UTSUNOMIYA, Japan, May 10 2000 

  Police obtained an arrest warrant Wednesday for the president of Nisso Ltd.,
  an industrial-waste disposal company in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, on
  suspicion of illegally exporting toxic waste to the Philippines last
year, police
  Hiromi Ito, 50, who remains at large, is suspected of exporting about 2,160
  tons of industrial waste, including hazardous medical waste, to the
  in July and October last year, police said. 

BACKGROUND- January 12 2000 Editorial


The Yomiuri Shimbun 

TOKYO, Japan, 12 January 2000 -- The illegal export of hazardous
waste by a Japanese company to the Philippines can only be termed
a disgraceful international environmental crime. 

About 2,700 tons of Japanese garbage in 122 containers was
shipped back to Japan on Monday and unloaded Tuesday. The
export of the garbage violates the Basel Convention that regulates
cross-border transportation of hazardous waste and its disposal. 

Because, under the convention, an exporting country is responsible
for the collection of such waste, the Japanese government chartered
a ship for the return of the garbage from the Philippines. The "forced
repatriation" of waste was a duty that brings shame upon Japan as a
member of the international community. 

Much of the garbage is infectious and toxic medical waste. Nisso Ltd.,
an industrial waste-processing company in Tochigi Prefecture,
exported the items under the description "waste paper for recycling."
The exposure was the first in Japan of large-scale dumping of waste
in contravention of international law, but it is doubtful that this is just
a one-off isolated incident. It is almost certain that there are other
cases in which waste is exported to developing countries with less
restrictive regulations under the guise of "resource exports" for

The illegal practice appears to be well established. Leave no stone
unturned in investigation Investigative and administrative authorities
have a duty to expose the entire process, from start to finish, by
which the returned waste turned up in the Philippines, from the firms
that produced it to the one that processed it and the Philippine
company that imported it. 

The system with a flaw that allowed the waste to be illegally exported
should be reexamined. The current controversy illustrates the
seriousness of the waste-disposal problem in Japan. The industrial
waste-processing company in question had earlier been found
responsible for the illegal dumping of about 8,000 tons of waste in
Ibaraki Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture and elsewhere. 

The company might have stepped up illegal dumping after being
forced to shut down incinerators that it failed to upgrade to meet
tightened standards for dioxin emissions that were introduced in late
December of 1998. It seems that the latest case has revealed a
vicious circle in which tighter rules encouraged more illegal dumping,
and, in turn, more tightening of controls to follow. One of the
offshoots was the illegal exportation to the Philippines. 

Tackle the problem at its source 

To break the circle, we must clarify and expand the responsibility of
waste producers, thereby tackling the problem at its source. This
issue is addressed in a bill for the revision of the Wastes Disposal
Law due to be submitted during the next ordinary Diet session. 

But the current law already stipulates responsibility of waste
producers. They are required to record details of waste in a
manifesto, hand it to a waste-disposal company and confirm how
disposal was made. The reality of the situation is, however, that
waste producers consider their responsibility to be at an end at the
second the waste is handed over to the disposal firm. 

Rampant falsification of manifestos enables them to get away with it,
making the system of record-keeping null and void. The revision bill
would make it mandatory for waste producers to verify correct
disposal in line with details recorded on manifestos. The producer
knows best about the content and composition of its waste and
should be made duty-bound to see its disposal through to the end. 

The revision bill also seeks to lay a level of responsibility with waste
producers for the recovery of waste found to have been dumped
illegally or improperly disposed of in other ways. This burden must be
distributed fairly. It costs several hundreds of millions of yen to
dispose of waste shipped back to Japan. The cost will be borne by
the Environment Agency, Health and Welfare and International Trade
and Industry ministries instead of the waste-disposal company.
Despite the extent of the disgrace, we must seize the opportunity
presented by the latest illegal exportation case to formulate a new
waste-disposal policy.


Mainichi Daily News 

NIIGATA, Japan, 23 January 2000  -- The president of an
industrial-waste disposal company that does business with Nisso
Ltd., which allegedly exported hazardous waste to the Philippines last
year, has killed himself in Niigata Prefecture, police said Saturday.

Police suspect Daisuke Kikuchi, 49, president of the Ichinoseki, Iwate
Prefecture-based company, swallowed insecticide to kill himself.

Kikuchi's firm was being investigated on suspicion of burying plastics
in its disposal site in Ichinoseki without permission.
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