Japanese Industry minister Hiroshige Seko says the government plans to ban retailers from giving away plastic bags for free from next April.
A meeting of energy and environment ministers from G20 nations kicked off in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan on Saturday. Seko said ocean pollution caused by plastic waste is a global issue that needs to be tackled by both the public and private sectors.
He said the government will work to quickly decide what type of plastic bags and raw materials should be banned, and also consider measures to protect small and mid-sized businesses.
This is the first time the start date for the ban has been mentioned since the government announced a strategy for recycling plastic last month.
The industry ministry wants to implement the measure by revising ministerial ordinances, and plans to work out the details with other relevant ministries.