In accordance with the Basic Law for Establishing a Recycling-based Society, which was established in order to create a recycling oriented society that wastes less, the Law for Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources came into effect in April 2001. Under this law, also known as the Act for Amending the Recycle Law, game machines were designated as Resources-Saved Products/Reuse-Promoted Products. Game machine manufactures are required to develop game machines while effectively utilizing resources and developing environmentally-friendly game machines.
This issue dates back to the ’90s when there was the social problem of frequently leaving great numbers of used game machines in rural areas in Japan. Thereafter, when the LCD units used in game machines and the rare metals contained in game machines were found to be valuable, some parts handlers began to remove only valuable parts from the game machines they bought and illegally exported all other unnecessary parts to other countries.
In the meantime, the pachinko industry is making continued efforts to avoid such problems by making it the responsibility of game machine manufactures to properly dispose of game machines and recycle parts to reduce waste. For example, Nichiyukyo (Nippon Yugi Kanrenjigyo Kyokai (Japan Game Related Business Association)) has selected nearly 40 recycling plants conforming to specific standards and notifies pachinko parlors. Nippon Yugikikogyo Kumiai or Nikkoso (Japan Game Machine Industry Association) developed a system for pachinko parlors to request pachinko machines be recycled free of charge in 2003; used pachinko machines are collected from pachinko parlors scattered across Japan and transported to the four plants inside the country where they are recycled. Independently of this nation-wide system, some game machine manufacturers themselves collect out-of-service game machines from pachinko parlors and supply new game machines made from recycled parts.
However, according to statistics, only half of the used game machines that should be disposed of in Japan go to the designated handlers. The pachinko industry is expected to continue increasing game machine recycle rates and collection efficiency in the future.