Tokyo recycler fined for hauling away newspapers

Kyodo News

The Tokyo High Court reversed a lower court acquittal and ordered a paper recycler Thursday to pay a ¥200,000 fine for taking old newspapers from waste collection sites in Setagaya Ward in violation of a municipal ordinance.

The decision against the 54-year-old man running a recycling business was the last in a series of cases involving Setagaya Ward’s recycling ordinance in which 12 people were indicted.

The Tokyo High Court has now imposed fines on all 12, reversing the Tokyo Summary Court’s rulings of not guilty for seven of them and turning down appeals from the other five who had been found guilty by the summary court.

The 11 recyclers who were already handed high court rulings have filed appeals.

One summary court judge determined last March that the recycling ordinance is unconstitutional because it lacks the definitiveness necessary for a punitive measure.

According to Thursday’s ruling, the man retrieved used newspapers from waste collection sites in the ward in March 2004 even though he did not have a business contract with the ward.

The ward mayor ordered him to stop taking the paper, but he continued to do so until that August.