Washington International Law Journal


Both Japan and the United States face the ongoing threat of intentional and preventable pollution. From 1970 until the mid-1980s, Japan utilized its environmental crime laws to punish and prevent intentional and preventable acts of pollution. After this period, however, the number of environmental crime arrests and prosecutions in Japan declined. In contrast, since the 1980s, the United States has continued to expand the number of prosecutors and investigators dedicated to the enforcement of environmental crime laws. These divergent trends can be explained by the different pollution histories, enforcement personnel structures, regulatory strategies, and case law of the two countries. In recent years, Japan has been plagued by large oil spills and the illegal disposal of industrial waste. By aggressively enforcing its environmental crime laws and increasing criminal fines, Japan can better deter these types of pollution in the future.

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