Japan's 2018 plastic waste shipments fall 30% after China's import ban

Sample newspaper article



Words and phrases

日本 (にほん) Japan

年 (ねん) year

輸出する (ゆしゅつする) to export

プラスチックごみ plastic waste

量 (りょう) volume

~と比べて (~とくらべて) compared to ~

3割 (さんわり) 30 percent

減る (へる) to decrease

地球環境戦略研究機関 (ちきゅうかんきょうせんりゃくけんきゅうきかん) Institute for

Global Environmental Strategies

分析 (ぶんせき) analysis

分かる (わかる) to show

再生材 (さいせいざい) recycled material

原料 (げんりょう) feedstock

~として as ~

需要 (じゅよう) demand

高い (たかい) high

最大の (さいだいの) the largest

輸出先 (ゆしゅつさき) export destination

~となっていた which used to be ~

中国 (ちゅうごく) China

環境汚染 (かんきょうおせん) environmental pollution

懸念する (けねんする) to be concerned about

輸入 (ゆにゅう) import

厳しく (きびしく) strictly

制限する (せいげんする) to restrict

影響する (えいきょうする) to affect, to have an impact on

代わりに (かわりに) instead

東南 (とうなん)アジア Southeast Asia

~向け (~むけ) headed to ~

増える (ふえる) to increase

規制 (きせい) restriction

強める (つよめる) to tighten

動き (うごき) move

~がある there is ~

大幅拡大 (おおはばかくだい) significant expansion, drastic increase

難しい (むずかしい) difficult

状況 (じょうきょう) situation

行き場 (ゆきば) destination

失う (うしなう) to lose

日本国内 (にほんこくない) in Japan

あふれる to be piled up, to be swamped

森田宜典 (もりたよしのり) Yoshinori Morita

客員研究員 (きゃくいんけんきゅういん) visiting researcher

製品 (せいひん) product

使用 (しよう) use

義務付ける (ぎむづける) to oblige

など and others, etcetera

国内 (こくない) domestic

対策 (たいさく) countermeasure

一層 (いっそう) further

進める (すすめる) to promote

するべき should

指摘する (してきする) to point out

Quick questions

1) なぜ日本のプラスチックごみの輸出量が減ったのですか。

2) プラスチックごみの代わりの輸出先となったのはどこですか。

3) 研究員はどのような対策を指摘していますか。


Analysis by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) showed on Feb. 21 that Japan’s shipments of plastic waste overseas in 2018 decreased 30 percent from 2017. China’s restriction of plastic waste imports, amid concerns over environmental pollution, had a big impact on the decrease, since China had been the largest export destination with plastic waste in high demand as feedstock for recycled materials. Southeast Asian nations became alternative destinations, but a drastic increase of imports is unlikely as there are moves in those countries to tighten the restrictions on such imports.

Having nowhere to go, the waste is piling up in Japan. Yoshinori Morita, a visiting researcher at IGES who conducted the analysis, pointed out, “Domestic countermeasures should be promoted further, such as obliging manufacturers of plastic products to use recycled materials.”


1) Why did Japan’s shipment of plastic waste overseas decrease?


China, the largest export destination, started to restrict such imports.

2) Where is the alternative destination for Japan’s plastic waste?


Southeast Asia.

3) What kind of countermeasures does the researcher suggest?


Obliging manufacturers of plastic products to use recycled materials.