Automobile NOx law
This law is formally known as the Special Measures Law for Emission Reduction of Nitrogen Oxides from Automobiles in Specified Areas. Introduced in June 1992, it designates the Tokyo and Kansai metropolitan areas, which suffer from the most severe air pollution, as special areas targeted for the reduction of exhaust gas from diesel trucks, etc., especially nitrogen oxides (NOx). The designated areas cover 196 municipalities in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Osaka, and Hyogo. To coincide with the designation, in February 1993 the government also set guidelines for suppressing nitrogen oxides emission by automobiles in the designated areas. However, many critics claim that the law has failed to lead to a major reduction in exhaust gases.
Marine pollution refers to large-scale contamination of the sea. Such pollution is mainly attributed to pollutants released from vessels and the practice of abandoning waste in the ocean. A Maritime Safety Agency survey of marine pollution found that oil was the cause in more than half of marine pollution cases identified in the waters around Japan in 1997. Since the 1997 Nakhodka incident, major oil spills have worsened the problem of marine pollution. The Law relating to the Prevention of Marine Pollution has long served as the legislation used to prevent oil spills from contaminating the environment. However, the Nakhodka incident prompted the Ministry of Transport and the Maritime Safety Agency to implement fresh measures to prevent marine pollution, including mandating stronger vessel structures and defining procedures for collecting spilled oil.