Japan’s nuke waste knocking on Philippine doors

JPEPA to open Philippines as destination for Japan’s radioactive waste


Manila, 26 Jan 2007 – Greenpeace today warned that the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA, now awaiting Senate ratification, includes dangerous provisions that would encourage the export of Japan’s nuclear and radioactive waste into the country.

Aside from provisions which promote hazardous waste dumping by Japan to the country, the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement(JPEPA) also includes provisions which exempt radioactive materials and “spent (irradiated) fuel elements (cartridges) of nuclear reactors” among others, from tariff. Greenpeace believes that the said headings would include wastes from nuclear reactors.

Despite clear prohibitions against the entry of radioactive waste into the country’s borders, there are apprehensions that the treaty, once adopted would trump existing laws including Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act which supposedly guards against such dangerous waste shipments into the country.

“JPEPA proponents will probably argue that there is no intention to trade in nuclear waste between the two countries and that our existing laws will protect us from such shipments. If the intention is not there, then why include these waste provisions in the first place? By encouraging the trading of radioactive and toxic waste, the agreement only increases the risk that these dangerous materials will end up in our shores one day. The Philippine Senate must not ratify JPEPA unless all nuclear and toxic waste dumping provisions are scrapped ,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia toxics campaigner Beau Baconguis.

Both countries were on the verge of concurrently ratifying the free trade pact, until civil society and environmental groups protested against provisions that would allow Japan to export its hazardous wastes to the Philippines. The JPEPA has been made public following its signing by the Japanese and the Philippine governments.

“It is highly immoral and unjust for a rich country like Japan to dump its dangerous wastes on countries which neither have the means nor resources to manage their own waste problems effectively. Moreover, it is a fact that no safe solution has yet been found for the disposal of radioactive waste,” added Baconguis.

Japan and the Philippines are both signatories to the Basel Convention, a legally-binding global commitment to stop the export of hazardous waste from industrialized countries to developing countries. Both countries, however, have yet to ratify the Basel Ban, an amendment to the Basel Convention which forbids even trade of hazardous waste disguised as recycling.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner, +63 917 803 6077
Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969, +63 2 434 7034