• Environment

Japan Govt Earmarks ¥500 Mil. to Study Health Effects of PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Environment Ministry In Chiyoda ward, Tokyo.

The Environment Ministry has earmarked about ¥500 million of its ¥787.5 billion budget request for fiscal 2024 to fund a project to research the harmful effects of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The total budget request is a 19% increase compared to the fiscal 2023 initial budget.

PFAS are synthetic chemicals that could cause cancer and their import has been banned in Japan. However, high levels of PFAS that exceed the government’s provisional level have been detected in rivers and other locations nationwide.

Given the lack of sufficient information, the ministry intends to commission university research institutes and other organizations to study and collect data on the health effects of PFAS.

To get an idea of how widespread the chemicals are in the natural environment, the ministry plans to measure PFAS concentrations in the atmosphere and soil, as well as continue to conduct water quality tests.