1. Profile
    1. Basic legislation
    2. Legal definition
    3. Guidelines and codes of conduct
    4. International arrangements
  2. Planning
    1. Authorization system
    2. Access to land and water
    3. EIA
  3. Operation
    1. Water and wastewater
    2. Fish movement
    3. Disease control
    4. Drugs
    5. Feed
  4. Food safety
    1. Miscellaneous
      1. References
        1. Legislation
        2. Related resources
      2. Related links
        Basic legislation
        The principal law that regulates fishery activities is the Fisheries Law (1949, as revised in 1962), which deals in detail with several kinds of fishing rights and licenses for Japanese individuals and groups of persons. The Law is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), but in practice many tasks have been delegated to the prefecture governments. Within the MAFF, the Fisheries Agency (FA) is responsible for preserving and managing marine biological resources and fishery production activities. The FA maintains several research institutes, such as the National Research Institute of Aquaculture (NRIA).

        In Japan, the marine waters are divided into a number of sea areas as administrative units for fisheries adjustment. With a few exceptions, essentially each sea area corresponds to the maritime zone of a coastal prefecture. The Fisheries Law establishes Sea Area Fisheries Adjustment Commissions and a Central Fisheries Adjustment Council to address matters of policy, implementation and enforcement under the Law in each sea area and to ensure the coordination of prefectural fisheries development within the overall national framework. The Sea Area Fishery Adjustment Commissions come under the joint jurisdiction of the MAFF and the prefecture governments.

        The Fisheries Cooperative Association Law (1948, as amended) provides the legal framework for local Fisheries Cooperative Associations (FCAs) who bear the responsibility for a particular geographical area and whose membership are fishers from communities within this area. Within the framework laid out by the prefectures, and as local conditions dictate, each FCA establishes its own regulations for the control and operation of fishery operations and the conservation and rational exploitation of fishery resources. In terms of day-to-day operations, the Japanese fisheries sector, although subject to higher level regulation, is essentially self-managed by the FCAs or federations of FCAs.

        The Law to Ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production (1999)  seeks to prevent the self-induced environmental deterioration around fish farms. Pursuant to this law, the MAFF issued Basic Guidelines to Ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production (1999) and the FCAs developed and implemented "Aquaculture Ground Improvement Programmes", which can be developed individually by a single FCA or jointly by more than one FCA, and which must be approved by the prefectural authorities.
        Legal definition
        There is no legal definition of aquaculture. However, the Fisheries Law defines fishery as "an industry which carries on gathering, taking or culturing of aquatic animals and plants".
        Guidelines and codes of conduct
        As mentioned above, pursuant to the Law to Ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production (1999) the MAFF issued Basic Guidelines to Ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production (1999)  .
        International arrangements
        Japan is a member of:
        • World Trade Organization (WTO).
        • Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC).
        Japan is a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and to the Biosafety Protocol. Japan is also a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
        Authorization system
        The Fisheries Law recognizes three principal categories of fishery rights, i.e. joint rights, demarcated rights and large-scale fixed net fishery rights. Of these, demarcated rights are granted for aquaculture in specific areas, and are usually valid for five years. There are two classes, i.e. "special demarcated fishery rights" and "demarcated fishery rights." The former are granted when many fishermen wish to engage in different types of aquaculture within a fairly large but sheltered, and thus relatively pollution-prone location, and in which, therefore, diverse activities with differing environmental quality requirements must be managed in a compatible and equitable manner. The latter are granted for pond aquaculture that occupies a defined and fixed site, and thus which demands little coordination with other, potentially incompatible activities.

        Fishery rights are granted by the prefecture government to the FCAs, which distribute the rights to their members. The latter engage in aquaculture in accordance with the FCAs regulations and management plan, approved by the prefectural authorities. Fishery rights are exclusive and cannot be loaned, rented or transferred to others, nor can they be mortgaged. In addition to FCAs, private organizations and private individuals are eligible to apply for demarcated fishery rights, but the order of priority set forth in the Fisheries Law ranks FCAs first.
        Access to land and water
        As mentioned above, access to aquaculture in public waters is regulated under the Fisheries Law. Fishing rights are managed and controlled by FCAs.
        The Basic Environmental Law (1993) provides the general principles for environmental protection. Among other things, it states that corporations engaged in the alteration of the landscape, the construction of new structures and other similar activities should conduct an EIA and give proper consideration to environmental conservation based on the results of the EIA. The Environmental Impact Assessment Law (1997) sets forth procedures and contains other provisions designed to define the responsibilities of the government regarding EIAs and to ensure that EIAs are conducted properly and smoothly with respect to large-scale projects that could have a serious impact on the environment. The law also prescribes measures to reflect the results of EIAs in implementing such projects and in determining the content of such projects. The Law does not specifically refer to aquaculture. Projects that require an EIA can be further designated by government ordinance.
        Water and wastewater
        The Water Pollution Control Law (1970, as amended) seeks to prevent the pollution of water in public water areas by regulating the effluent discharged by factories or establishments (to be further specified by government order) in order to protect human health and to preserve the living environment. Under the Law, Effluent Standards are established, which are uniformly applied in Japan. They are made up of two categories: standards for protecting human health and standards for protecting the environment. They are available at http://www.env.go.jp/en/lar/index.html. Any person who intends to discharge effluent should submit a report to the governor of the prefecture, including information on - inter alia - the type and structure of the factory or establishment, the method of treatment of polluted water or wastewater and the state of pollution and quantity of effluents. Within 60 days after receipt of the report, the governor may request to change the structure or the way of use of the factory or establishment, if the effluent is not according to the standards.

        In addition, the Basic Environmental Law requires the government to establish Environmental Quality Standards (EQS), i.e. target levels for water quality that are to be achieved and maintained in public waters. Again, these standards are established to achieve two major goals: protection of human health and conservation of the living environment. The first goal is met by setting uniform national standards applicable to all public waters. The standards take in due consideration the potential health hazards associated with the intake of listed substances through drinking water and/or fish and shellfish. The second goal is met by classifying rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and coastal waters based on water usage and by establishing EQS values for each class. These values are then to be applied to each public water body. Special EQS are established to preserve the groundwater environment. All standards and values are available at http://www.env.go.jp/en/lar/index.html.

        The Law relating to the Prevention of Marine Pollution and Marine Disasters (1970) seeks to regulate - inter alia - the disposal and burning of oil, hazardous liquid substances and waste from vessels and marine facilities.
        Fish movement
        The Ministry of Environment has published Measures to Be Taken against Invasive Alien Species in Japan (2004). According to this document, alien species include species introduced from a certain area to another area within the country. The Measures are available at http://www.env.go.jp/en/topic/as/040326.pdf. In addition, an Invasive Alien Species Act is currently under preparation. The draft Act is available at http://www.env.go.jp/en/topic/as/040427.pdf.
        Disease control
        The Law to Partially Amend the Law on the Protection of Fishery Resources (1996) aims to prevent the spread of fish disease through imports of marine animals for use in aquaculture or propagation of stocks. It provides that those persons who intend to import such animals (to be identified by ministerial decree), as well as the containers and packages used for their shipment, should obtain a permit from the MAFF. Any person applying for a permit should submit a certificate issued by the authorities of the exporting country certifying or stating the belief that the marine animal concerned has not been affected by contagious diseases (to be identified by ministerial decree).
        The general legislative framework on chemicals is comprehensive. Numerous laws and regulations address the production, registration, import and export, storage, transport, usage and/or disposal of certain types of chemicals. The Agricultural Chemicals Regulation Law (1948, as amended)  , for instance, deals with the regulation of agricultural chemicals (including pesticides). The Pharmaceutical Affairs Law (1960)  regulates veterinary drugs and veterinary medical devices. The Law specifies among other things how these drugs and devices are to be tested and approved, advertised, packaged, utilized and so forth, and under what circumstances they can be prescribed. Although the Law is administered by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the MAFF oversees its application where it concerns veterinary drugs. Reportedly, in 1995, the Fisheries Agency has issued a pamphlet to guide aquaculturists and fish farmers concerning the use of drugs in aquaculture, regulating for instance the species in which they are used, the method of administration and quantity, and the time from which administration is terminated to when the product is harvested and on the market (withdrawal period).
        The Law concerning Safety Assurance and Quality Improvement of Feed (1953)  intends to regulate the quality of feed to certain animals as designated by the Law. They include several fishery species.
        Food safety
        Food safety is regulated in the Food Safety Basic Law (2003)  , dealing with risk assessment, and the Food Sanitation Law (1947, as amended), dealing with risk management. The Food Sanitation Law, which is administered by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), in particular the Department of Food Safety under the Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, can be divided in two parts. The first part deals with the establishment of standards, including specifications and standards for food, standards for labeling, standards for facilities and standards for management/operation. The second part of the Law deals with inspections and guidance, including inspection by the national government of imported food products and inspections and guidance by local and municipal governments for domestic food businesses.

        Based on the Food Sanitation Law, various specifications and standards for seafood (i.e. related to processing, storage, labelling etc.) have been established. More information on these specifications and standards, including maximum residue limits for pesticides and veterinary drugs, can be found in the following documents:
        Aquaculture investment 
        There is no specific reference to investment in the aquaculture sector. More information on investment in Japan can be obtained at http://www.jetro.go.jp/investjapan/.

        The MAFF issued Guidelines for Application of Recombinant DNA Organisms in Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, The Food Industry and Other Related Industries (2000). The purpose of these Guidelines is to establish basic requirements concerning the appropriate application of recombinant DNA organisms in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and the food industry, as well as in other related industries regulated by the MAFF, in order to assure the safe use of DNA organisms and to achieve the sound overall development of agro-industries.
        The Agricultural Chemicals Regulation Law (1948, as amended) (Copy not available)
        Food Safety Basic Law (2003) (Copy not available)
        Law concerning Safety Assurance and Quality Improvement of Feed (1953). (Copy not available)
        Law to Ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production (1999). (Copy not available)
        The Pharmaceutical Affairs Law (1960). (Copy not available)
        Related resources

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        Title of textDate of textConsolidated dateEntry into forceCountries
        Administration and conflict management in Japanese coastal fisheries. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 273.1992.  online version
        Arthur, J.R., Lavilla-Pitogo, C.R. and Subasinghe, R.P. (eds). Use of Chemicals in Aquaculture in Asia, Proceedings of the Meeting on the Use of Chemicals in Aquaculture in Asia. Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines, 20 – 22 May 1996.
        Van Houtte, A. 2001. Establishing legal, institutional and regulatory framework for aquaculture development and management. In: R.P. Subasinghe, P. Bueno, M.J. Phillips, C. Hough, S.E. McGladdery & J.R. Arthur, eds. Aquaculture in the Third Millennium. Technical Proceedings of the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, Bangkok, Thailand, 20-25 February 2000. pp. 103-120. NACA, Bangkok and FAO, Rome.  online version
        Related links
        Country profiles: Japan
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