The Sankei Shimbun
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to propose a solution to the global problem of marine plastic waste, with details of the plan to be revealed at the G20 Summit that Japan will host in Osaka in June 2019.
Sources said recently that the Prime Minister’s plan was revealed at the recent G7 Summit in Canada. It includes an initiative to coordinate with more countries on the course of action to take.
Abe expressed support for reducing marine plastic waste, stating, “This global issue cannot be addressed with efforts from just one nation, nor with efforts from only the G7 and developed nations. It requires a response from all nations, including developing countries.”
‘Get China and Korea involved’
According to multiple government officials, the Prime Minister further remarked, “The waste washing up on Japan’s shores is coming from China and Korea. Japan alone cannot reduce this waste—this issue must be addressed globally.”
Abe also emphasized Japan’s intent to coordinate on this issue as the host of next year’s G20 Summit.
Plastic bags have been discovered inside the bodies of dead marine animals, and fears are on the rise that marine waste, including tiny microplastics, is negatively impacting marine ecosystems.
When the issue was suddenly brought up at the G7, Japan agreed to the “Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities.”
However, Japan refrained from approving the “G7 Oceans Plastic Charter,” an annex to the blueprint that includes a target on use of 100% recycled or recyclable plastics by 2030. Japan deferred, claiming a lack of time for discussion and the need to get developing countries involved.
A 2016 study conducted by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment deduced the origin of plastic bottles collected at 10 coastal locations based on their manufacturers labels. Bottles collected in Amami (Kagoshima Prefecture) were 72% Chinese, 12% Korean and 1% Japanese products. Likewise, Chinese and Korean bottles accounted for between 42% and 57% at Tanegashima (also in Kagoshima), Tsushima and Goto (Nagasaki Prefecture), and Kushimoto (Wakayama Prefecture). Waste from Russia and Taiwan was also found.
Japan has faced criticisms for its irresolute response in holding off on agreeing to the charter. The Abe administration looks to dispel these criticisms by taking the lead and proposing forceful measures to deal with the problem.
(Click here to read the original article in Japanese.)