Title: [GreenYes] recycling scandal in Japan
Recycling scandal hits Japan
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
The reputation of Japan's paper industry lay in
tatters today after the market leader, Oji Paper,
admitted it had lied for more than a decade about
the volume of recycled paper used in some of its products.
The revelation comes days after the country's
second-biggest paper company, Nippon Paper Group,
admitted it had made similarly false claims.
In one case Oji Paper said the amount of recycled
paper in its copy and printing paper was as high
as 50% when the real figure was between 5% and 10%.
The firm's envelopes contained, at most, 30% of
recycled paper, although consumers had been led
to believe it was as high as 70%. Some products
contained no recycled material at all.
"We had let the ratio of recycled paper fall amid
rising shipments while the amount of recycled
paper did not grow," Oji Paper's president,
Kazuhisa Shinoda, told reporters in Tokyo.
Shinoda said he would not resign over the scandal
but apologised for misleading consumers. The
fabrication, he said, had "betrayed public trust
and we apologise to our clients and customers".
Nippon Paper's president, Masatomo Nakamura, said
he would resign to take responsibility for the scandal.
Oji Paper and Nippon Paper are among five firms
accused of misleading customers about the
recycled-paper content of product lines,
including millions of New Year's greetings cards.
The scandal dragged down shares in paper
companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today.
Nippon Paper's shares plummeted 10% to 267,000
yen (£128) after the copier maker Fuji Xerox and
other firms said they would stop selling its
products. Shares in Oji Paper, meanwhile, dived 4.7% to close at 476 yen.
Japan's fair trade commission is expected to
decide soon whether the companies can be
prosecuted under existing mislabeling laws.