The aim of this study was to research the distribution in the Kinki region of Japan of Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa that produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) and metallo beta-lactamase (MBL). One thousand isolates, 200 of each of four enterobacterial species (i.e. Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter cloacae and Serratia marcescens) and 200 of P. aeruginosa, were collected from seven different laboratories during two 2 month periods, one in 1998 and one in 2000. A double-disc synergy test (DDST) and 2-mercaptopropionic acid inhibition test (2-MPAT) were used to confirm beta-lactamase-producing isolates. The DDST was positive for one isolate of E. coli, five of K. pneumoniae, two of E. cloacae and 14 of S. marcescens. The 2-MPAT was positive for five isolates of S. marcescens and two of P. aeruginosa. We identified the beta-lactamase type of each isolate by molecular confirmatory tests (isoelectric focusing, PCR and DNA sequencing): CTX-M-3 ESBLs (three isolates of K. pneumoniae, two of E. cloacae and 13 of S. marcescens), CTX-M-2 ESBL (one isolate of K. pneumoniae), SHV-12 ESBLs (one isolate of E. coli and one of S. marcescens), CTX-M-3 and SHV-12 combination ESBL (one isolate of K. pneumoniae) and IMP-1 MBLs (five isolates of S. marcescens and two of P. aeruginosa). In conclusion, many species of Gram-negative bacilli that produce CTX-M-3 ESBLs and IMP-1 MBLs were disseminated widely in different hospitals of the Kinki region of Japan. Therefore, monitoring of laboratory bacterial ecology seems important to stop the spread of these strains through nosocomial outbreaks.