September 15th 2004. Japan's four principal motorcycle manufacturers - Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha - are to launch a voluntary motorcycle recycling system on October 1st 2004. Eleven other motorcycle importers have also agreed to participate in the scheme.

The decision was taken in a JAMA press conference held on July 12th 2004.

In Japan, about 1.2 million motorcycles reach the end of their service life each year. Of these bikes, about 700,000 are exported as second-hand vehicles. The remaining units are either reused for parts or scrapped. Of the latter proportion of vehicles, a high number are recycled, creating about 840 tons of dust annually.

New legislation in Japan will attribute a certain level of responsibility for the handling and processing of waste to the original manufacturer. This 'extended producer responsibility', as part of 'Automotive Recycling Law', will come into effect in January 2005.

The actions of JAMA's four motorcycle-producing companies pre-empt the tightening regulations, and will provide 190 recycling sites. In collaboration with dealers, owners will be able to use these sites to responsibly dispose of any motorcycles for which they have no further use.