JAPAN, DEC 12, 2018 -- The National Diet, the bicameral legislature of Japan, has enacted a law that enables private firms to operate water supply services.
Under the new Act, local governments are encouraged to team up with private entities through a private finance mechanism that enables their facilities to be operated by the private firms for a period of up to two decades.
According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, about 15 percent of the water supply pipes across the country had passed their endurance limit of 40 years as of 2016, with less than 40 percent of them deemed strong enough to withstand a powerful earthquake.
Replacement of all water pipes is expected to take 130 years given the present pace of work, according to The Japan Times.
Critics of the Act believe that privatization of water supply utilities would lead to higher bills as well as reduce quality of water supply.