Problems in Japan's governance system related to end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment trade

Yoshihisa Sugimura, Shinsuke Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Recyclable materials can potentially be either resources or pollutants, and this is especially the case with end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment (EoL EEE). We often experience difficulties in assessing whether EoL EEE trade should be promoted or regulated. This study looks to determine the level of consistency among the components of Japan's governance system related to EoL EEE trade. As a result, we found that the conceptual direction is to accept or promote trade on the condition that such trade does not in turn promote environmental pollution. However, we also found that at the present time, the governance system within Japan that defines various procedures in support of this direction is not keeping pace with this concept. The prevention of illegal exportation without disturbing the promotion of recyclable-resource trade predicated by the prevention of environmental pollution should be addressed as the most crucial issue here. Especially, the decision-making criteria for the relevance of the legal "waste" definition pose an institutional problem, when the material that may have a positive market value when recycled abroad, while not when recycled domestically. We estimated the value of EoL EEE, both for the case of domestic recycling and for that exported to and recycled in China and found that only PHS terminals and cellular phones could be economically recycled in Japan. One effective solution for prevention of improper exports is to make recyclable resources legal "waste," when they bear a net negative value fall under the condition of being processed domestically based on the estimated value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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