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Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission

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Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission
Hearing for adjudication (example)

The Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission is an administrative commission whose main duties are to:

  • 1) Resolve environmental disputes through conciliation and adjudication promptly and appropriately (Environmental Dispute Settlement System);
  • 2) Coordinate mining, quarrying, or gravel gathering with the general public interest or other industries (Land Use Coordination System).

The chairperson and six commissioners are qualified legal professionals and experts in various fields, and the Prime Minister appoints them with the consent of the Diet (for a term of office of five years).
The law ensures neutrality and independence so that the court-based procedures can coordinate the interests that stand relative to each other.
Depending on the dispute, a person with academic knowledge in the relevant field may be appointed as an expert member to conduct a specialized investigation.
A secretariat is set up to assist the affairs of the Commission, and staff members, including experienced judges, are assigned (under personnel exchanges with courts).

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Chairperson and Commissioners

(Career) (Appointed date)
Chairperson ARAI
 Tsutomu
Former President of Fukuoka High Court July 1, 2017
Commisioner KAMIYA
Kazuko
Medical Doctor (Former Chief Senior Researcher, Japan Medical Association Research Institute) July 1, 2020
Commisioner TSUZUKI
Masanori
Former Judge at Tokyo High Court (Division Director) July 1, 2020
Commisioner WAKO
Toshihiko
Former Senior Advisor, Fujitsu Limited,
Former Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination of Internal Affairs and Communications
July 1, 2021
Commissioner (Part-time) NONAKA Tomoko Lawyer (Former Professor, The Training and Research Institute for Court Officials) July 1, 2015
July 1, 2020
Commissioner (Part-time) KATO
 Kazumi
Director, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology July 1, 2017
Commissioner (Part-time) OHASHI
Yoichi
Professor, Law School, Gakushuin University July 1, 2021

(as of July 1, 2021)

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Duties of the Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission

Prompt and Appropriate Settlement of Environmental Disputes

 The Commission aims to resolve environmental disputes promptly and appropriately based on the Act on the Settlement of Environmental Pollution Disputes (enacted in 1970).

  • Settlement of Environmental Dispute Cases
    The Commission shares roles with Prefectural Pollution Review Boards and works to promptly and appropriately resolve disputes based on applications from the interested parties through such procedures as adjudication and conciliation.
  • Cooperation with Local Governments Concerning Consultations on Environmental Pollution-related Complaints
    Each local government has established an environmental pollution-related complaint consultation desk and has stationed environmental pollution-related complaint counselors for processing complaints promptly and appropriately.
    The Commission has endeavored to enhance know-how for complaint processing and conducts an annual survey on how complaints are being processed.

Land Use Coordination Related to Mining and Other Industries

 Based on the Act on Adjustment Procedures for Utilization of Lands for Mining and Other Industries (enacted in 1950), the Commission coordinates the mining, quarrying, or gravel gathering industries with the general public interest or other industries, including agriculture and forestry.

  • Designation of Mining Prohibited Areas
    The Commission designates Mining Prohibited Areas based on requests from Ministers or Prefectural Governors.
  • Adjudication on Appeals against Administrative Dispositions for Mining, etc.
    The Commission makes adjudications on appeals filed by the interested parties against specific dispositions rendered under the Mining Act, Quarrying Act, Gravel Gathering Act, etc.
  • Responses to Inquiries Concerning Dispositions Based on the Land Expropriation Act
    When the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism makes a determination on a request for review with regard to an administrative disposition rendered under the Land Expropriation Act, the Minister is required to seek opinions of the Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission in advance.

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History of the Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission

Date Event
Dec. 1950 Promulgation of the Act for Establishment of the Land Coordination Commission (Act No. 292 of 1950)
Jan. 1951 Inauguration of the Land Coordination Commission (the external agency of the Former Prime Minister’s Office)
Jun. Establishment of the Inquiry System through the promulgation of the Expropriation of Land Act (Act No. 219 of 1951)
Aug. 1967 Promulgation of the Basic Act for Environmental Pollution Control (Act No. 132 of 1967)
Jun. 1970 Promulgation of the Act on the Settlement of Environmental Pollution Disputes (Act No. 108 of 1970)
Nov. Establishment of the Central Public Pollution Investigation Commission (Former Prime Minister’s Office)
Jun. 1972 Promulgation of the Act for Establishment of the Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission (Act No. 52 of 1972)
Jul. Establishment of the Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission (the external agency of the Former Prime Minister’s Office) (Integration of the Land Coordination Commission and the Central Public Pollution Investigation Commission)
Introduction of the Adjudication System through the partial amendment to the Act on the Settlement of Environmental Pollution Disputes
The Act title was amended to the Act on Adjustment Procedures for Utilization of Lands for Mining and Other Industries through the partial amendment to the Act for Establishment of the Land Coordination Commission
Nov. 1974 Introduction of the Ex Officio Mediation System through the partial amendment to the Act on the Settlement of Environmental Pollution Disputes
Nov. 1993 Promulgation of the Basic Environment Act (Act No. 91 of 1993)
Jan. 2001 The Commission became the external agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications through
the reorganization of central government ministries
May 2009 Amendment of the Regulations on Environmental Pollution Dispute Settlement Procedures (Commission’s Regulation No. 3 of 1972) to reduce the burden of the parties residing away from Tokyo and easing of the requirements for holding hearings at locations of damage

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