Japan scraps oil pollution treaties

May 26, 1997 02:00 AM

May 9, 1997 Japan has decided to scrap two international treaties concerning damage caused by oil pollution to officially become a signatory of a new treaty that gives larger amounts of compensation, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's cabinet approved the discarding of the old treaties on civil responsibility regarding damage caused by oil pollution and the establishment of an international fund for such compensation. The ministry said Japan has been required to scrap the two treaties signed in 1969 and 1971 respectively since the nation ratified the new treaty in 1992.
Tokyo will send a letter soon to the IMO to inform it of its decision to scrap the old treaties, to take effect May 15 next year.
Under the new treaty, Japan could seek up to some 22.5 bn yen from the international fund for the oil spill accident caused by a Russian tanker in the Sea of Japan this year. The figure is more than double the amount guaranteed under the old treaties.
The 13,157-tonNakhodka broke in two on Jan. 2, resulting in a huge spill of fuel oil into the sea. The incident is one of Japan's worst oil disasters with the oil destroying marine resources and damaging the coasts of nine prefectures.

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