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Japan’s new automobile recycling law, which creates an additional one-time tax for vehicle owners ranging from 7,000 yen to 18,000 yen (about $69 to $178), goes into effect Jan. 1, Japanese officials said.

U.S. Forces Japan officials said they were unsure how the fee would be applied to Status of Forces Agreement personnel.

The Vehicle Recycle Law was passed in July 2002 to combat costs from illegal dumping of automobile scraps such as metal, Freon and air bags.

Space within Japan’s reclamation sites is dwindling, officials say. To stretch capacity, Japanese government policy now requires vehicle parts to be separated more efficiently to reduce waste and recycle as many parts as possible. The cost of junking vehicles increased because of the change.

“Now 80 percent of vehicle parts are recycled, and the GOJ is aiming to bring this percentage up to 95 in about 2015,” Yoshiji Harasawa, electronic data processing specialist from the Camp Zama Provost Marshal’s Office registration section, stated in an Army news report.

New-car buyers will pay up front, while other owners will be charged upon their Japan Compulsory Insurance renewal or when they scrap their vehicles, a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official said last week.

Just as car titles change hands, Japanese officials said, a recycle ticket will be transferred from owner to owner. The fee goes to the Japan Automobile Recycling Promotion Center, a corporation chosen by the Japanese government to administer funds, recycling and similar information.

The recycling fees for minicars and compact vehicles — with engine capacities up to 2,000 cc — will range from 7,000 yen to 16,000 yen ($69-$158). Fees for cars with engines bigger than 2,000 cc will be between 10,000 yen and 18,000 yen ($99-$178).

Tax amounts will vary depending on what’s installed in the vehicle, with items such as air conditioners and air bags being factors, officials said.

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