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The Ministry of International Trade and Industry is planning an environmental protection law that will require industries to report on the pollutants they release into the atmosphere, water and soil.

Ministry sources said environmental deterioration resulting from the release of man-made chemicals that cause hormone imbalances necessitate the legislation.

Although industries and the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) oppose the legislation, MITI hopes to submit the bill during the next regular Diet session, which starts in January.

MITI will first designate chemical substances to be reported based on toxicity and then order companies handling them to report on the amount released into the environment when disposed of as industrial waste.

After collecting relevant data, the government would first announce pollutant levels by region and later by industry sectors. The legislation would be in line with a system — the pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR) — that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development urged member nations to introduce in 1996.

It would be the first to cover the entire country. The Environment Agency has set up experimental PRTR systems in Kawasaki and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Toyoda, Aichi Prefecture, and is expected to announce their results shortly. It is also planning to compile its own PRTR report for two areas in Kanagawa Prefecture and one in Aichi Prefecture.

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