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Prefecture targets junkyards operating without permission

Date Posted: 2003-02-28

Okinawa now has more than 39,000 abandoned cars littering the roadsides or private property, and the number is on the rise. Okinawa Prefecture officials cite August figures showing junk cars are abandoned on the roadside or littering privately owned fields where the landowners accept the junk cars for a fee. That number, they say, is increasing every day.

Operating a junk yard requires permission, and junkyards are required to destroy the vehicles within a reasonable time. Officials say that of 168 junk yards operating in the prefecture, only 89 have the required permits.

In a move to clean the environment, prefecture officials have sent warning letters to 52 junk yard owners found to have over 100 unscrapped vehicles on their yards. The letter urged the junk yard owners to take the cars to licensed industrial waste treatment facilities and get rid of them. The worst case was a scrap yard owner who had more than 2,000 scrap cars on his property.

Another problem is unscrupulous car owners who just abandon their old broken cars on unused land lots or at quiet roadsides, and remove the number plates. In 2001, Okinawa Prefecture removed 10,000 such cars using a subsidy from the central government. This year, prefectural officials say that they are prepared to move 7,000 abandoned cars.

Officials also try to locate the owners of these scrap cars, and when they succeed they will send the owner an invoice to cover the cost of properly junking the vehicle. Land and junk yard owners who keep these eyesores on their property are first urged to get rid of the cars in a proper way, and then threatened with fines if they donít comply.

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