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Japanese Government to Enact Mercury Export Ban Act

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Civil Society Organizations Joint Statement 2012 (Draft) Japanese Government Needs to Enact Mercury Export Ban Act We, civil society organizations concerned about world-wide mercury pollution strongly urge the Japanese Government to enact a Mercury Export Ban Act at the earliest possible time. In accordance with the Decision at the 25th session of the Governing Council of the UN Environment Program in Nairobi, Kenya on February 2009, governments all over the world are now 2 meetings away from concluding the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) that creates a legally binding international mercury treaty to reduce world-wide emissions and discharges of a pollutant that threatens the health of millions, from fetuses and babies to pregnant women and coastal and indigenous communities reliant on fish for their subsistence. The INC commenced its work in 2010 with the goal of completing the negotiations prior to the 27thregular session of the GC/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in 2013. The global community also agreed that the risk to human health and the environment was so significant that an accelerated action under a voluntary Global Mercury Partnership is needed whilst the treaty is being finalized. The partnership plan includes: -Mercury Waste Management -Mercury Supply and Storage -Mercury Management in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining -Mercury Control from Coal Combustion -Mercury Reduction in the Chlor-alkali Sector -Mercury Reduction in Products -Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research At the Asia Mercury Storage Project Inception Workshop held at Bangkok in March 2009, all Asian countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations who participated confirmed the necessity of safe permanent storage of excess mercury in the Asian region as one of the tools necessary to further cut mercury supply. In the autumn of 2008, the European Union (EU) and followed by the United States of America enacted historic mercury export bans and took related actions to promote safe storage of excess mercury. The rationale for putting up the EU and US export bans is the evidence showing that in many developing countries and countries with economies in transition, majority of mercury imported from the EU or the US ends up being used in an environmentally unsound manner. Although Japan has the tragic history of minamata with mercury, unfortunately as shown in the 2attached graph and tables, Japanese mercury export amounts to more than 100 metric tons per year on an average. The exports are mainly derived from nonferrous metal smelters and recycling of mercury containing wastes and are exported to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, resulting in the re-circulation of mercury into the global marketplace and eventually ending up in environmentally unsound practices such as whole-ore amalgamation in small-scale gold mining. As a major trading giant in the world with substantial economic clout, and also as a country with moral imperative arising from its Minamata experience, we understand that Japan should become the third global power to ban the export of mercury following the EU and US. We are certain that the mercury export bans in concert with the EU, US and Japan will have a tremendous impact on mercury reduction worldwide and will surely contribute to accelerate the promotion of an effective international mercury treaty to be set up by UNEP in 2013. In view of the foregoing, we the undersigned civil society groups and individuals, strongly urges the Japanese government to take the following action immediately. 1. Enact a Mercury Export Ban that will effectively cease all mercury and mercury compounds exported by Japan. 2. Safely place in long-term storage all surplus mercury produced in Japan. 3. Show good leadership to realize a strong and effective International Mercury Treaty that honors Minamata, and increased effort to create mercury storage capacity in the Asian region. The circle of mercury poisoning must end. Japan can do no less to help end the global mercury poisoning. It can do no less in honor of Minamata. END -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Contact: Takeshi Yasuma Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution (CACP), Japan Richard Gutierrez Ban Toxics! / Zero Mercury Working Group, Philippines


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