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Japan to introduce rare earth recycling legislation

Japan – The Japanese government plans to enact legislation requiring consumers to actively recycle used electronic products such as mobile phones and digital cameras.

More efficient recycling would reduce demand for the rare earth minerals and precious metals that Japan is currently forced to import. The government hopes a more secure supply chain will boost production of hybrid vehicles and precision equipment.

The draft bill also encourages manufacturers to review product design with a view to increasing the reuse of rare earths and precious metals. If it passes into law, businesses and private consumers will be expected to separate used electronic products from other waste.

Successful implementation will depend on the national government to set aside a budget to promote the new recycling system, while local authorities will need to take measures to enable separate collection of e-waste for subsequent delivery to designated processors.

New legislation would allow the government to seek data from recycling businesses, and give it the power to impose fines of up to 30 million yen (Euro 278 000) if they file a false report.

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