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The government on Friday revised ordinances of four relevant ministries to oblige retailers to charge a fee for issuing plastic shopping bags from July 1.

All stores in the nation, including supermarkets and convenience stores, will be subject to the rule.

The move is aimed at increasing public awareness of environmental protection issues at a time when maritime plastic waste is becoming a serious problem worldwide.

Thin plastic bags used for perishable foods and eco-friendly bags made from plant-based materials will be exempt from the charges.

While business operators are allowed to set bag prices on their own, the government is asking them to charge at least ¥1 for each bag.

Less than a yen isn’t acceptable, the government said Wednesday in its guidelines.

Under the guidelines, stores will no longer be considered in compliance if they only discount prices or give points to customers who bring their own bags.

Shopping bags made from biodegradable plastic are exempt from the rule, and dry-cleaning shops and some other operators in the service sector that are not categorized as retailers aren’t required to follow it. But the guidelines call for such outlets to voluntarily take similar steps to reduce plastic waste.

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