From: Kyodo News International
Published February 16, 2005 12:00 AM

Japan Government Drafts Bill on Making Firms Report Greenhouse Gas Emissions

TOKYO — The government has drawn up a bill to revise the law to curb global warming by mandating that sizable factories and offices report the amounts of greenhouse gases emitted above certain limits, a copy of the draft showed Wednesday.

The draft says the government will compile the data and make them public to keep tabs on greenhouse gas emissions by various businesses.

The government prepared the draft bill as the Kyoto Protocol aimed at curbing industrial emissions of heat-trapping gases enters into force Wednesday.

The bill requires the government to disclose emission data in detail to enable the public to have access to the information, government sources said. It also encourages Japanese businesses to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But some industry leaders are not receptive to the new measure, saying it could mean disclosing confidential business data.

To address such concerns, the sources said, the government plans to include a confidentiality provision in certain cases before submitting the bill to the Diet in early March.

Big businesses and select segments of the transport and travel industries that consume energy equaling 1,500 kiloliters of crude oil annually are required under the revised law to submit annual reports on their greenhouse gas emissions.

The numbers of such big business establishments and companies total 18,000 and 8,000 companies, respectively, according to government estimates.

The Environment Ministry will initially compile emission data by industry and region for fiscal 2006 to publish them in fiscal 2007, the sources said.

The bill has an information disclosure provision to allow the public to bypass complicated data-seeking procedures. The proposed measure covers methane, dinitrogen monoxide and a few other types of gas, as well as carbon dioxide.

As for CO2 generated through energy consumption, the government plans to curb such emissions by revising the energy-saving law, the sources said.

The government plans to permit companies to limit the extent of data disclosure of industrial gas used, such as in making semiconductors, which could allow competitors to estimate costs and production capacity of rival factories.

To see more of Kyodo News International, go to (c) 2005, Kyodo News International, Tokyo. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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