• Kyodo

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The Mie Prefectural Assembly unanimously approved a bill Friday obliging companies to pay a tax on industrial waste, the first such ordinance in Japan.

It is the second independent taxation system drawn up by a local government in Japan following one to tax people who fish in Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture. That tax is scheduled to be introduced by the town of Kawaguchiko and two other villages in the prefecture from July.

Other prefectures, including Tottori and Fukuoka, are also considering introducing taxes on industrial waste, and Mie’s move is expected to give other prefectures momentum to follow suit.

The prefecture will hold discussions with the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications from July, and after being granted approval, it plans to enforce the tax system from fiscal 2002.

The prefecture estimates the tax will cover about 90 firms operating both within or outside the prefecture and bring in approximately 400 million yen a year in revenues. The tax will not be levied on companies discharging less than 1,000 tons of industrial waste a year.

The proposed tax of 1,000 yen a ton on industrial waste is designed to secure funds to help the prefectural government promote research and development on recycling, according to prefectural officials.

The Mie government is also considering using the tax revenues to study ways to curb industrial waste generated by businesses, as well as to strengthen surveillance of illegal dumping of waste, they said.

Initially, the prefectural government had planned to submit the bill to an assembly session convening in March, but it was delayed by opposition from industry circles and some assembly members.

The general affairs and planning committee of the prefectural assembly, which approved the bill, adopted a supplementary resolution to review the system in around three to five years, if necessary.

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