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Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005

Packaging costs lawsuit filed

Staff writer

A major supermarket chain filed a 616 million yen damages compensation lawsuit Monday against the government and a state-backed corporation, claiming that a recycling law that obliges retailers to shoulder most of the costs of recycling plastic containers is unconstitutional.

Life Corp. maintains that petroleum-related industries that process oil and produce packaging should also shoulder the costs of recycling.

Under the law, the company has paid the Japan Containers And Packaging Recycling Association a total of 616 million yen in commissions for recycling packaging and containers of retail goods. The company is demanding that the government and the association return the money.

The company filed the suit aiming to pressure the government into correcting problems with the Law for the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packages, Life Corp. President Nobutsugu Shimizu said at a news conference.

Attorney Hiroyuki Kawai said the law, which obliges retailers to bear most of the expense for recycling the packages, is unfair and violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which stipulates there should be no discrimination in economic relations.

"(The purpose of) the law is good but it lacks fairness and justice," Shimizu said. "Although I have asked the ministries to improve the law, they did not listen to me. So I filed the suit."

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