Waste disposal company suspended for illegal dumping

The Okinawa Prefectural Government has reportedly suspended the industrial waste disposal license of Kurashiki Kankyo Co., Ltd., that operates a large waste disposal site near Kurashiki Dam. The company is suspected of illegally dumping hazardous waste on the premises of the land it owns.

Government officials have reportedly judged that the company maliciously violated the law and organized attempts to cover up the problem.

Kurashiki Kankyo is Okinawa’s largest waste disposal company. It’s expected that the company would be unable to continue its business, and that would affect the whole waste disposal industry in Okinawa.

Kurashiki Kankyo has built a 30-meter-high “mountain of garbage” on the premises of “Kankyo Solution”, a group company in Noborikawa, Okinawa City. The mountain is about 800 meters away from the company offices. The garbage buried in the mount includes controlled waste that is required to be strictly managed. The government indicted the company for illegal dumping last August, and a hearing was conducted on the case this June based on administrative procedures.

Yuji Minami, the president of the company, admits accepting placing the garbage on the premises of Kankyo Solution, but adds, “We just placed the waste in the mount temporarily. We also think we placed it in a wrong place but it was not illegal.”

According to Minami, the company has moved cinders and mixed waste in flexible container bags to the premises of Kankyo Solution, and some bags have been broken because time-related deterioration resulting in the contents leaking out.

Kurashiki Kankyo was founded in 2000. It is an industrial waste disposal company that also handles about 60% of garbage from the U.S. military.

The amount of the garbage has exceeded the legal limit of the disposal site, and the company has buried it on the premises. The prefecture has issued administrative sanctions, like business improvement orders, to the company since 2010.

There have been problems before, including a case when arsenic was detected on the premises.

The company has already signed an agreement to remove the garbage by the end of January 2023.