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Japan tackles complex car clean-up process

Japan – Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami on Japan’s east coast in March this year, car dismantlers have been teaming up with local relief organisations to remove abandoned vehicles in the Miyaga and Fukushima prefectures.

Cars damaged in the disaster will not be traded within the usual price range for scrapped products as these vehicles have been affected not only by dust and sand but also by salt. Although the recycling costs for these cars are being paid by the government, the burden on recyclers has been increased because they need to wash even lightly-damaged cars prior to normal processing operations.
The number of damaged vehicles in Miyagi prefecture has reportedly reached 146 000 units – a figure which is expected to rise to 200 000 units and even beyond. Meanwhile, damaged cars in Soma City will be the initial target in Fukushima prefecture: removal work and transportation to storage yards will be carried out by approved operators who, at the same time, will also engage in road recovery efforts. Members of the Fukushima Prefecture Automobile Recycling Association (FARA) will check vehicle ownership at the yard.
For recyclers, fluorocarbon collection and air-bag deployment are mandatory prior to shredding under Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law. For many of the cars damaged in the disaster, however, such work is complicated by the fact that they are completely altered from their original form. The removal of such vehicles from Sendai city alone is expected to take more than six months.

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