Japan to Make Plastic Bag Fees Mandatory from July 2020

Politics

Tokyo, Nov. 1 (Jiji Press)--A joint panel of Japan's industry and environment ministries at a meeting on Friday approved a draft plan to require all retailers across the nation, regardless of their size, to charge for plastic shopping bags from July 1, 2020.

The uniform system is designed to ensure fairness among businesses while preventing consumers from being confused. Based on the plan, the government will amend a relevant ordinance under the containers and wrapping materials recycling law in late December.

Aiming to make the world well aware of the new system during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, to be held between late July and early September, the government will accelerate work to spread it with a range of measures, such as a campaign to encourage consumers to use reusable shopping bags. Some municipalities have already introduced their own fee systems for shopping bags.

The joint panel was set up to discuss issues related to fees for plastic bags handed out to shoppers at supermarkets, convenience stores and other shops. At the day's meeting, many participants praised the new measure, with one of them saying, "It is aimed at prompting people to change their lifestyles and is therefore symbolic."

Initially, the government planned to introduce the nationwide mandatory fee system in April next year to make it take root by the time the Olympic Games begins. In view of the need to give shops sufficient time to fully prepare for the new system, however, the government is set to delay the launch by three months.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press