Japan to ban free plastic bags at stores to fight marine pollution
Japan Today -- Jun 05
Japan plans to make it mandatory to charge for plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores and department stores as the country combats marine pollution by plastic waste.

Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada said at a press conference his ministry plans to introduce a new law banning the practice of providing single-use plastic bags for free, while leaving the price of a plastic bag up to the retailers.

"The proportion of plastic bags among plastic waste is not big, but charging would be symbolic" of Japan's efforts to reduce such waste, said Harada.

On Tuesday, Harada said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told him the measure is following the right direction and urged him to "thoroughly listen to the opinions of the people."

Japan produces the largest amount of plastic waste per capita after the United States and has lagged behind other countries in curbing the use of plastics.

The ministry expects the retailers to charge between several yen to 10 yen per bag. Harada said the price should be effective in reining in the use of plastic bags.

The ministry also intends to request retailers to use revenues from charging for the bags for environmental measures including afforestation and spreading awareness on marine pollution.

レジ袋は「30円くらいにしよう」と経済界から意見です。 経済同友会・櫻田謙悟代表幹事:「(レジ袋1枚が)3円だと問題だという人はあまりいないんじゃないか。逆に言うと30円ぐらいじゃないと『袋いらない』とならないと思う」 レジ袋を巡っては、海洋汚染が深刻になるなか、原田環境大臣が来年中にレジ袋を無料で配ることを禁止する法律の制定を目指すと発言しています。価格は、すでに有料化している富山県の5円から10円程度を参考にするとされていますが、経済同友会の櫻田代表幹事は、レジ袋を使わなくさせるべきだとしています。

News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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