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Japanese media criticises companies over fake 'recycled' goods

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 19, 2008
Media on Saturday criticised Japan's top paper firms for lying about the use of recycled products in goods billed as being made from such materials, the latest in a series of scandals in the corporate sector.

Five major paper producers admitted in the past week that their products contained significantly less recycled materials than advertised -- or none at all -- in their bid to offer quality products and create a good business image.

"We were utterly stunned by the cases of fake recycled papers, made by the five companies that lead the sector emphasising its environmental friendliness," the influential Nikkei business daily said in an editorial.

"This is a deep-rooted problem that can destroy the public confidence in the industrial sector as a whole," it said.

The paper companies admission came after a media investigation, and all the firms released lists of affected products, ranging from post cards to photo copy paper.

Daio Paper Corp, for example, said it had advertised that a type of computer printer paper was made entirely from recycled materials when only seven percent of it actually was made of such products.

The Mainichi Shimbun said the case was about "corporate ego", rather than going "eco," and that the companies preyed on consumers who wanted to help the environment.

"Our disappointment is not the technological shortcomings. Rather, we are disappointed by the attitude of the companies that felt OK to announce false data," the newspaper said in an editorial.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda also condemned the companies' actions.

"They lied to consumers. Their actions did not really amount to environmental measures, so their problems are two-faceted," Fukuda said Friday.

The scandal comes after a string of cases of deceit by various Japanese firms were revealed last year, including architects who lied about building safety and food producers who mislabelled production dates.

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Obsolete Infrastructure Can Help Environment
Chapel Hill NC (SPX) Jan 18, 2008
Thousands of obsolete dams and thousands of miles of abandoned roads in America's aging and crumbling infrastructure could still be valuable - to the environment, according to a policy forum paper in this week's Science by Martin Doyle of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues.

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