Materials Transactions Online

Materials Transactions, Vol.48 No.09 (2007) pp.2436-2444
© 2007 The Japan Institute of Metals

Outflow of Resources from Japan focusing on End-of-life Vehicles

Masaaki Fuse1, Kenichi Nakajima2 and Hiroshi Yagita1,3

1Research Center for Life Cycle Assessment, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba 305-8569, Japan
2Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8579, Japan
3Department of System Engineering, Nippon Institute of Technology, Minamisaitama-gun, Saitama 345-8501, Japan

In order to examine the risk to resource security in Japan, this paper quantifies the outflow of base metals (iron, aluminum, copper, lead, and zinc) through export of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) from Japan from 1988 to 2005 using the Trade Statistics of Japan and vehicles composition data. Estimates were also made for engine-related rare metals (manganese, nickel, chromium, and molybdenum), under statistical restrictions. This analysis shows that 24% of iron, 38% of aluminum, 13% of copper, 53% of lead, 11% of zinc, and 38% of rare metals in ELVs in Japan were not recycled and flowed out of the country, mostly in the form of used vehicle and parts. The destinations of these metals were mainly developing countries with rudimentary recycling technology. These results strongly indicate that many metal resources that could be utilized domestically from automobiles in Japan were instead scattered and lost overseas.

(Received 2007/4/23; Accepted 2007/7/18; Published 2007/8/22)

Keywords: Japan, outflow of resources, end-of-life vehicles, engine, base metals, rare metals

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