(1) PURPOSE OF THE LAW AND SYSTEM
The objective of this law is to contribute to the enhancement of agricultural production capacity and health of the citizens of the state by maintaining fertilizer quality, etc., and to ensure fair trade in, and safe soil application of, fertilizers through the establishment of standards, registration, inspection, and other measures.
(2) OUTLINE OF THE LAW AND SYSTEM
Fertilizer is classified into two types: "special fertilizers" and "ordinary fertilizers" (Article 2). "Special fertilizers" including rice bran and compost designated by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, for which notification must be made at the time of production or importation (Articles 2 and 22). "Ordinary fertilizers" are those that are not special fertilizers, for which registration or notification is required upon production or importation (Articles 2, 4 and 16-2).
Official standards have been prescribed for ordinary fertilizers. The official standards define for each type of fertilizer the minimum or maximum amount of main components to be included, the maximum amount allowed for components harmful to plants to be contained, along with other restrictions (particle size and ingredients) as deemed necessary. This ensures the quality and safety of fertilizers (Article 3).
In addition, there is a group of fertilizers within ordinary fertilizers designated as "specified ordinary fertilizers." Designated by a cabinet order, these specified ordinary fertilizers are the ones whose toxic ingredient remains in agricultural products, thereby in some uses could lead to harm in human or animal health (Paragraph 1.4 of Article 4 and Article 5).
Guarantee labels must be attached to ordinary fertilizers to provide information on quality, etc. to consumers and to ensure fair trade. The guarantee labels must carry a guaranteed nutrient content, name of the producer and other relevant information (Articles 17 and 18).
Since consumers have extreme difficulty distinguishing the quality of compost, etc at the time of purchase, it is especially necessary to distinguish the quality in utilization. For compost, etc, standards for matters to be labeled concerning the quality shall be prescribed and labeled in order to promote the rationalization of labeling concerning quality (Article 22-2).
In order to ensure the quality of fertilizers, an on-the-spot inspection system of manufacturers, farmers as fertilizer users, etc. has been adopted (Articles 30, 30-2, 33-3). In an on-the-spot inspection, a fertilizer inspector of the Ministry of AFF(Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the prefecture or FFIS(the Fertilizer and Inspection Services of the Independent Administrative Institution) and Feed Inspection Station of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries or a fertilizer inspector of a prefectural fertilizer testing agency may enter the premises of the fertilizer manufacturer, etc. to inspect fertilizers, fertilizer ingredients, books and other documents and take samples of fertilizers. The fertilizer samples are taken back for analysis if they contain the components guaranteed on the guarantee label. The findings are then officially announced.
(3) CABINET ORDER AND MINISTRIAL ORDINANCES
Enforcement Order of the Fertilizer Control Law
Enforcement Regulations of the Fertilizer Control Law
(4) OUTLINE OF THE CONTROL
1) Items Covered
2) Outline of Specifications, Standards, and Inspections, etc.
For ordinary fertilizers, primarily, an application for registration is made, together with attached samples, to the Minister of AFF or the prefectural governor on the type of fertilizer. FFIS, etc analyzes the samples and makes an assessment on whether or not to inspect the samples to see if they meet the official standards, in such case registration is approved and distribution of the fertilizer is permitted (Articles 4 through 9).
For ordinary fertilizers, primarily, an application for registration is made along with attached samples. If the application for registration is approved, permission to distribute the fertilizer is granted.
[Outline of the Certification System]
(a) Any application for registration (or provisional registration) of an ordinary fertilizer (except for designated mixed fertilizers) shall apply Minister of AFF or the prefectural governor for each brand.
(b) Both the written application for registration and samples of the fertilizer are inspected. Except in a case where the fertilizer is deemed to damage plants, the Minister of AFF or the prefectural governor will register the fertilizer and issue a registration certificate after confirming that the said fertilizer meets official standards.
(In the case of an application for provisional registration, both a written application and samples of the fertilizer are inspected. Except in a case where the fertilizer is deemed to damage plants, the Minister of AFF will issue a provisional certificate after confirming that the quality of the said fertilizer is equivalent to the corresponding fertilizer for which official standards have been prescribed.)
(c) Any foreign applicant wishing to apply for registration or provisional registration shall appoint an resident representative (person residing in Japan, which may include a representative of the Japanese office of a foreign juridical person) (Article 33-2).
[Flowchart of procedure for registration (provisional registration)]
(when application is sent to prefectural governors, inspection will be conducted by the prefectural officials)
(d) For specified ordinary fertilizers, elements such as scope of planting and method of soil-application will also be subject to inspection.
(e) Testing Agencies
FFIS (the head office, 5 local office)
|The head office||Inspection Division, Saitama Shintoshin Godochosha, 2-1 Shintoshin, Chuo-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama330-9733||048-601-1171|
|Sapporo office||Sapporo 2nd Godochosha, 4-1 10-chome, Odori nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 060-0042||011-241-3066|
|Sendai office||Sendai 3rd Godochosha, 1-3-15 Gorin, Miyagino-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi 983-0842||022-295-4211|
|Nagoya office||Nagoya Norin Sogochosha No. 2 Building, 1-3-2 Sannomaru Naka-ku, Nagoya 460-0001||052-201-7284|
|Osaka office||Osaka Godochosha No. 2 Building, Bekkan, 4-1-67 Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 540-0008||06-6942-3492|
|Fukuoka office||3-11-15 Chihaya, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka-shi 813-0044||092-662-1102|
iii.Procedures for application
In order to apply for registration for ordinary fertilizers, a written application of a format set down in Form No. 1 of the Enforcement Regulations of the Fertilizer Control Law is submitted, with a sample of the fertilizer attached, to the Minister of AFF or a prefectural governor according to the type of fertilizer. FFIS, etc. inspects if information on the application submitted is correct and analyzes the fertilizer sample to determine whether or not it meets official standards. If there is no problem, a registration certificate is issued to the applicant.
Note that when registered fertilizers are merely mixed together, they are referred to as "designated mixed fertilizers" and do not require registration again. In such a case, the Minister of AFF or a prefectural governor depending on a type of fertilizer must be notified (Article 16-2).
(5) HIGHLIGHTS OF THE RECENT AMENDMENT
The law was substantially amended in 2003, including amendments to the objectives of the law. As the objective of the law, provisions including contribution to "health of the citizens of the state" were added. This in turn is reflected in amendments which provide to designate "specific ordinary fertilizers" that require either registration or provisional registration to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery. Therefore, upon such registration the scope and method of application will also be subject to inspection. In addition, farms using specific ordinary fertilizers have also become subject to on-the-spot inspection.
(6) REFERENCE INFORMATION
(Liaison Office for Further Information)
Fertilizer Planning Section, Plant Products Safety Division, Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
03-3591-6585 (after-hours) http://www.maff.go.jp
Fertilizer and Feed Inspection Services of the Independent Administrative Institution
The head office