Noteworthy Keyword
【Act for the PRTR system, and its promotion】

Shinichi FUJITA


In Japan, the PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) system has been promoted based on “the Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements to the Management Thereof”. A purpose of this Act is to promote voluntary improvement of the management of chemical substances by business operators and to prevent any impediments to the preservation of the environment, by offer of the information about the release amount of chemical substance to the environment, etc. In "Agenda 21" and the "Rio Declaration" which were adopted at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, the necessity of the PRTR system was emphasized. Then, the OECD Recommendation about the introduction of the PRTR system was issued in 1996. Today, in many countries have adopted the PRTR system including much earlier adopted countries such as the U.S., the Netherlands, etc. In response to the OECD Recommendation, the Act for PRTR established in 1999, and the business subject to the Act started in 2001.

The chemical substances are classified into the "Class I Designated Chemical Substance" and the "Class II Designated Chemical Substance", and Chemical substances that are subject to the PRTR are “Class I Designated Chemical Substances”. There are 354 “Class I Designated Chemical Substances”.

A business operator handling chemical substances potentially hazardous to the environment has to estimate the amounts of chemical substances released and transferred in waste, and report the data to their local governments. There are threshold values such as the capacity of facility (varies by type of business) or a size of business (i.e., the number of regular employees) in the business operator upon which a duty of a report is imposed. The national government then compiles the submitted data and combined with the amount of discharge from other resources, and makes the results public. The business operators are required to provide a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) to their counterpart when transactions of Class I and II designated chemical substances (and products containing them) occur between business operators.

The basis of the Act is in raising the knowledge about chemical substances to the business operators, citizen, NPO etc., to promote voluntary improvement of the management of chemical substances by business operators. For this reason, information about the chemical substances can be easily acquired through Web sites, such as the PRTR information forum , PRTR Database .

In recent years, compliance or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is the keyword of corporate management. Although there are penal regulations etc. in this law, in order to promote the PRTR system more effectively, it is important that business operators promote voluntary improvement, as the members of the sustainable society.

Environmental Analysis by Utilizing GIS
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