May 28, 2010 Mail to ZMWG/IPEN
Japan's Minamata Legacy and The Export Ban
Updated on May 28, 2010
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With the advent of INC1 on Mercury fast approaching, we in Japan have raised concerns regarding the overture that our government is making on the issue of mercury and the mercury treaty itself. Recently, we circulated news that Minamata victims have settled with the Japanese government and Chisso Corporation, and that our Prime Minister Hatoyama expressed interest in having the treaty called "Minamata Treaty".
From those looking outside, these appear to be positive news. But not all is as good as it appears. It is disconcerting to see that Japanese government is eager to have the treaty named after Minamata even while it has not fully met ALL its responsibilities to ALL victims of Minamata. We also can not accept the hypocrisy of the government as it continues to export its surplus mercury to developing countries knowing well that the mercury they send will end up in smoke in environmentally unsound operations such as small-scale mining operations, in spite of its Minamata experience.
Our call to the Japanese government is to walk the talk on mercury. Own up to and fulfill its responsibility to ALL the Minamata victims and STOP exporting its poison to the world. It is only when Japan fulfills its responsibility, can it begin thinking of perhaps a treaty that honestly and justly commemorates Minamata.
With our allies, we have developed a briefing paper "Japan's MinamataI Legacy and The Export Ban" to explain our concerns to the broader NGO community and to the foreign governments who will be participating at INC1. The English version can be accessed at:
We have also developed a powerpoint presentation "Mercury Issues in Japan", the English version can be accessed at:
Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution (CACP)
Z Bldg. 4F, 7-10-1 Kameido, Koto-ku, Tokyo, 136-0071
TeleFax: +81-3-5836-4358; www.ne.jp/asahi/kagaku/pico/
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Diliman, Quezon City 1101
Tele Fax: +63 2 929 1635; www.bantoxics.org