Global Environment

Japan's Domestic Efforts to Follow up on the Kyoto Conference

Bill for the Promotion of Measures to Tackle Global Warming Submitted to the Diet on 28 April 1998

1. Necessity for Establishing a New Law

As the host country of the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) held in Kyoto in December 1997, Japan shall take the lead among developed countries in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Japan shall seek positive national responses for this purpose. It is important for the developed countries to gain the trust of developing countries by exhibiting a serious commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
Japan's carbon dioxide emissions rose by 9 percent from 1990 to 1996, a considerable increase. For this reason, Japan must take immediate actions in order to meet the targets smoothly and confidently by the first commitment period starting 2008.

2. Characteristics of the New Law

The core idea of this bill is to urge all relevant social actors to make efforts to mitigate climate change, including the formulation of action plans, and the disclosure of the plans and the state of their implementation to the public.
The bill's measures will contribute to strengthening Japan's fight against global warming, by working in concert with other programs including energy conservation measures stipulated by the revised Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy.
The bill aims to stimulate voluntary efforts of relevant social actors as much as possible; therefore, it does not specify quantitative targets for total national emissions or emissions from individual sources.
Additional policy measures will be introduced for Japan to meet the 6% emission reduction target provided by the Kyoto Protocol, when Japan ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.

The major points of the bill are described below:

  • (1) This is the first law in Japan with the explicit objective of combating global warming. Currently there is no law in Japan requiring the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This law provides a basis upon which government measures and initiatives of each social actor will be developed.
  • (2) The law promotes measures to reduce emissions of all six GHGs. It proposes a variety of measures for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, not confining to the traditional energy-saving measures that had been put into practice for a long time.
  • (3) The law promotes the disclosure of plans and the status of their implementation by national and local governments, as well as by businesses that emit large volumes of GHGs.
  • (4) Local governments are required to implement detailed measures taking into account the natural and social conditions of their areas, in accordance with the idea of "Think Globally, Act Locally."
  • (5) The law provides measures to raise public awareness and disseminate information in order to promote eco-friendly lifestyles among citizens. (In each prefecture, a Center for Promoting Activities to Prevent Global Warming will be designated, and voluntary advisors will be appointed to advice activities for arresting global warming.)

3. Outline of the Bill

  • (1) Objective
    To promote measures to arrest global warming in order to contribute to the healthy and cultural life of the present and future citizens, and to contribute to the well-being of humanity.
  • (2) Definitions
    Greenhouse gases are defined as CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6.
  • (3) Responsibilities of Each Social Actor
    • a) National Government
      • To monitor the climate conditions and ecosystems and to promote measures in a comprehensive way
      • To give consideration to the environment when making national policies so that they can contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions
      • To reduce GHG emissions resulting from activities of the national government
      • To support measures of local governments and to give advice to activities undertaken by businesses, citizens, and NGOs
      • To research response measures and climate systems
      • To participate in international cooperation efforts
    • b) Local Governments
      • To implement measures while taking the natural and social conditions of the local areas into account
      • To reduce GHG emissions resulting from activities of the local governments
      • To provide information to local businesses and citizens
    • c) Businesses
      • To make efforts to reduce GHG emissions relating to business activities and to cooperate in measures taken by the national and local governments
    • d) Citizens
      • To make efforts to reduce GHG emissions relating to daily life and to cooperate in measures taken by the national and local governments
  • (4) Basic Guidelines

    • a) Basic Guidelines
      The government shall establish basic guidelines for measures to tackle global warming. The guidelines shall include: basic direction for response measures; and basic items for measures taken by the national and local governments, businesses, and citizens.
    • b) Exemplary Action Plans of Government
      The government shall make an action plan for reducing GHGs resulting from government activities. It shall make the status of implementation public.
  • (5) Promotion of Voluntary Actions of Each Social Actor

    • a) Exemplary Action Plans of Local Government.
      Prefectural governments shall make exemplary action plans for reducing GHGs resulting from their activities.
      Municipal governments are recommended to make exemplary action plans.
      Local governments that have established plans shall make public their plans and the implementation status.
    • b) Initiatives of Businesses
      Businesses that emit large amounts of GHGs shall make efforts to reduce emissions of GHGs. They shall also make efforts to contribute to the emission reduction efforts by others (e.g. through the provision of energy-efficient apparatus).
  • (6) Reducing GHG Emissions Resulting from Daily Activities, etc.

    • a) Prefectural governors are authorized to appoint voluntary advisors to raise awareness for eco- friendly lifestyles. Prefectural governors are also authorized to designate an existing organization as the prefectural Center for Promoting Activities to Prevent Global Warming.
    • b) Prefectural governors are authorized to appoint voluntary advisors to raise awareness for eco- friendly lifestyles. Prefectural governors are also authorized to designate an existing organization as the prefectural Center for Promoting Activities to Prevent Global Warming.
  • (7) Disclosure of the Total Emissions of GHGs to the Public
    The government shall make public the nation's total GHG emissions annually.

  • (8)Cooperation of Related Ministries and Agencies, etc.

    • a) The Director General of Environment Agency may request the cooperation of related ministers regarding measures to reduce GHG emissions.
    • b) The Director General of the Environment Agency may request the submission of information and explanations from prefectural governors.
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