Over half of the world's population lives in Asia, and East Asia, in particular, has achieved remarkable economic growth.As a result, the burden on the environment has increased, including greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution, air pollution, and waste production, and global environmental issues such as acid deposition, dust and sandstorm, and marine pollution are becoming apparent.Moreover, like other developing regions there are also areas where destruction of the environment stemming from poverty is a concern.Under these circumstances, environmental conservation in Asia, especially in East Asia, is becoming a significant issue on a global scale.
Asian countries have experienced or are experiencing industrial pollution and other environmental degradation that comes with economic development, something that Japan and other industrialized nations have previously experienced.Therefore, by introducing the experiences and technologies of industrialized countries, then it are possible for developing countries to avoid the mistakes and leap over environmental degradation, making the economic development on the level of industrialized countries.Among industrialized countries, Japan has experiences in overcoming pollution problems that have arisen under conditions unique to Asia, such as dense population and rapid industrialization.And the various experiences of Japan can contribute to leverage the Asian economies to sustainable development.
Given these facts, Japan has proposed the Clean Asia Initiative (CAI) to bring about a significant impact on the global environment and achieve sustainable economic development in Asia, a region with close ties to Japan.
The concept of CAI was included in the Strategy for an Environmental Nation in the 21st Century, a proposal approved by the Cabinet in June 2007.Later, climate change and environmental issues became main topics at the 3rd East Asia Summit held in November 2007, and improving environmental policy under that framework has become a major issue in Asia, leading to actions such as holding an Environment Ministers Meeting from this year.Therefore, the importance to compile CAI content emerges.
CAI is an initiative that aims to help economic development in Asian countries to leap over environmental degradation by passing on Japan's experiences of technologies, organizations, and systems (as a package), while at the same time taking into consideration of each country's history, traditions, and culture.If this sustainable development can be achieved in developing regions of Asia, then it is possible to transfer that experience within the region to areas that may develop at a later time.CAI will become a model for Asia to achieve sustainable economic development low-carbon, sound material-cycle avoiding environmental degradation by living in harmony with nature.
CAI aims to build an Asian model of a sustainable society that develops economically while harmoniously coexisting with the environment, and is a key part of the Asian Economic and Environmental Community.