Japan Japan, MHLW Changes Measures to be taken when importing products that may contain asbestos

Requires written certification at the time of import that asbestos does not exceed 0.1 percent of the weight of the product

On May 18, 2021, an order was promulgated to partially amend the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) requiring products that may contain asbestos to certify in writing that they do not contain more than 0.1% of the weight of the product. The effective date will be December 01, 2021.

Although the manufacture, import, transfer, provision, or use of asbestos and products containing more than 0.1% of the weight of asbestos is originally prohibited, in recent years, several products such as bath mats made mainly of diatomaceous earth have been found to violate this prohibition. This amendment is considered to be a response to these recent cases of violations of regulations on chemicals in products.

 

The original text of the relevant ministerial ordinance can be viewed at the following URL.

・the Ordinance on Prevention of Health Impairment due to Asbestos

https://elaws.e-gov.go.jp/document?lawid=417M60000100021_20210401_502M60000100134&keyword=%E7%9F%B3%E7%B6%BF%E9%9A%9C%E5%AE%B3%E4%BA%88%E9%98%B2%E8%A6%8F%E5%89%87

・Ministerial Ordinance on the Use of Information and Communications Technology in Preservation of Documents, etc. Conducted by Private Business Operators, etc. under the Provisions of Acts and Regulations under the Jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

https://elaws.e-gov.go.jp/document?lawid=417M60000100044_20200515_502M60000100100&keyword=%E5%8E%9A%E7%94%9F%E5%8A%B4%E5%83%8D%E7%9C%81%E3%81%AE%E6%89%80%E7%AE%A1%E3%81%99%E3%82%8B%E6%B3%95%E4%BB%A4%E3%81%AE%E8%A6%8F%E5%AE%9A%E3%81%AB%E5%9F%BA%E3%81%A5%E3%81%8F%E6%B0%91%E9%96%93%E4%BA%8B%E6%A5%AD%E8%80%85%E7%AD%89%E3%81%8C%E8%A1%8C%E3%81%86%E6%9B%B8%E9%9D%A2%E3%81%AE%E4%BF%9D%E5%AD%98%E7%AD%89%E3%81%AB%E3%81%8A%E3%81%91%E3%82%8B%E6%83%85%E5%A0%B1%E9%80%9A%E4%BF%A1%E3%81%AE%E6%8A%80%E8%A1%93%E3%81%AE%E5%88%A9%E7%94%A8%E3%81%AB%E9%96%A2%E3%81%99%E3%82%8B%E7%9C%81%E4%BB%A4

 

Major revisions to the Ordinance on Prevention of Health Impairment due to Asbestos

Newly established Article 46-2 “Measures to be taken at the time of importation of products that may contain asbestos” in Chapter 8 “Manufacturing, etc.” of the Supplementary Provisions. The summary of newly established articles follows;

  1. Any person who intends to import products that are likely to contain asbestos over 0.1% of their weight and that are specified by the Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare (limited to cases where the products are to be used for sales or business purposes) shall, at the time of importing the products, obtain a document and confirm that the products do not contain asbestos over 0.1% of their weight, stating the following matters prepared by a person specified by the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare;
    1. Date of issue of the document, document number, and other information that can identify said document
    2. Name and model of the product
    3. Information to identify the product lot from which the sample for analysis was taken
    4. Date of analysis
    5. Method of analysis
    6. Name of the person who conducted the analysis
    7. Whether or not asbestos was detected, and if detected, the rate of asbestos content
  2. The document outlined in the preceding paragraph shall be accompanied by a document clarifying that the document corresponds to the lot of products to be imported (or, in the case of products that do not constitute a lot, to the products to be imported) and a copy of a document certifying that the person who conducted the analysis outlined in item (vi) of the same paragraph falls under the category of a person specified by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare prescribed in the same paragraph.
  3. Any person who intends to import the products as described in paragraph (1) shall keep a copy of the document as described in the same paragraph (including the document and a copy of the document that are required to be attached according to the preceding paragraph) for a period of three years from the date of importation of the products.

 

Major asbestos-containing products used before the ban as identified by the MHLW

Type of product Main applications
Building materials Extrusion molded cement board Non-load bearing exterior walls and partition walls of buildings
Friction material Brake pads, etc. Brakes for automobiles and industrial applications (cranes, elevators, etc.), etc.
Adhesive Filling gaps between industrial heat insulators used at high temperatures, etc.
Heat resistant and electrical insulator Power distribution panel, etc.
Sealant Gasket Used to seal restraining parts such as piping flanges
Packing Used to seal moving parts such as shaft seals of valves and pumps.
Other asbestos products Industrial product materials (joint sheets, asbestos cloth, etc.), wire mesh for experiments, etc.