The ruling coalition agreed in principle Tuesday to legislation that would mandate the collection and destruction of chlorofluorocarbon gases known to deplete the ozone layer and induce global warming, coalition officials said.

The bill is expected to be formally announced Friday. It covers chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons used as refrigerants in industrial cooling systems, commercial refrigerators and automobile air conditioners.

If the legislation passes, registered businesses would collect the gases from industrial cooling systems and bill owners of the machines for the retrieval, transport and destruction of the gases.

Coalition member New Komeito had been demanding that a center be established to oversee the retrieval and disposal of car air conditioner coolants and manage related fees. In the end, the party agreed to the utilization of existing recycling facilities operated by automakers. The car manufacturers would charge owners for the collection, shipping and destruction of the gases.

The ruling bloc will approach opposition parties drafting similar bills and attempt to jointly present a bill to the current session of the Diet, coalition officials said.

The portion of the legislation covering industrial cooling systems and refrigerators would take effect on April 1, 2002, while that for auto air conditioners would be invoked in October so municipalities could prepare for the changes.

However, the coalition bill does not detail when automobile owners would be required to pay for the destruction of the chlorofluorocarbons — at the point of purchase, during semi-regular maintenance check-ups, or at the time of disposal. The details are expected to be integrated with an automobile recycling law slated to be proposed around August, officials said.

Production of CFCs was banned in 1995. HCFCs, originally created to replace CFCs, are to be gradually phased out in developing counties by 2020.

Domestic measures on HFCs have yet to be hammered out, although the gas is one of six addressed under an international climate change accord.

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