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Japan Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare

Japan _Ministry Health Labour WelfareThe Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) aims to improve and promote social welfare, social security, and public health services in a comprehensive and unified manner. In addition, it undertakes work to promote the improvement of the working environment, employment security, and human resource development.

Whilst in relation to regulation of nanomaterials, the majority of Asian countries lie quite far behind the US, EU and Australia, the MHLW has encouraged companies to take necessary precautions when manufacturing nanomaterials.

In a report [pdf] published by the OECD WPMN in 2010, the following developments relevant to the regulation of nanomaterials by the MHLW were outlined:

  • According to the existing regulatory system in Japan, the Chemical Substance Control Law obliges manufacturers to notify the government about nanomaterials if they are new chemicals subject to the law, and as of 2006, some notifications concerning fullerene derivatives had been submitted under the small quantities exemption of the new chemical notification system.
  • In October 2008, a notification for exposure prevention in the workplace was issued. A revised version was published in 2009.
  • In 2009, Guidelines for preventing the environmental impact of manufactured Nanomaterials was published by the Expert committee on the environmental impact of manufactured nanomaterials (Ministry of the Environment).

Thus, while there are no nanomaterial-specific regulations as yet, workplace safety practices are being actively promoted. The OECD WPMN report on the topic also indicates that data gathering is underway in order to support any regulatory changes necessary.

Did you know?

0.335 nm is the theoretical thickness of graphene.