Annex 1. THE BASIC ENVIRONMENT PLAN
(adopted by the Government in December 1994) (Excerpt)
PART II. Principles of Environmental Policy
Section 2. Long-term Objectives
The aforementioned section covers the basic ideas of environmental policy. The following discussion will introduce the long-term goals of this policy. Briefly, they are: (1) closed material circulation, (2) harmonious coexistence, (3) participation, and (4) international effort. To build the desired relationship between people and the environment, comprehensive measures shall be promoted.
- 2. Long-Term Objectives
- The ultimate goal of this Plan is to attain a state of sustainable development while continuing to conserve a healthy and rich environment. The following four objectives must be secured to reach this ultimate goal.
- 2.1. Environmentally Sound Material Cycle
- Burdens on the atmosphere, water and soil are caused by interference with nature’s circulation of materials. To reduce these burdens, our socioeconomic system must be based upon nature’s circulation of materials. Thus, things removed from the earth, such as raw materials and energy, must pass cleanly through our socioeconomic system at every stage, from production, through the stream of commerce, to consumption,and finally to disposal. Plans to limit the occurrence of waste and to properly dispose of it are essentia1. This Plan aims to create such a system.
- 2.2. Harmonious Coexistence
- The atmosphere, water, soil, wildlife, people and their behavior mutually affect one another. It is necessary to work on appropriate methods to conserve the environment depending on the way that it was formed. Such methods include conserving invaluable nature, maintaining and conserving secondary nature, environmental restoration and wildlife conservation management. Planning the wise use of nature, while simultaneously providing places and opportunities to come in contact with it, will ensure a rich exchange between human beings and nature. This Plan shall ensure the maintenance and restoration of a healthy ecosystem and a harmonious coexistence between nature and human beings.
- 2.3. Participation
- To create a socioeconomic system with closed material circulation and state of harmonious coexistence
between humans and nature, comprehensive policies must be developed with long range views. This means
that the environment must be considered at every step. Wasteful, "disposable" lifestyles must be
reviewed and people’s values and conduct must be reformed.
Every sector of society needs to fully understand the relationship that exists between humankind and the environment. It is essential for each sector to voluntarily and actively participate in efforts to utilize the environment wisely and to reduce the burden on it. It is further necessary that the cost be fairly spread throughout society. This can be accomplished by employing the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP). Under this principle, contributions are made depending on the degree of burden imposed on, or benefits received from the environment, by each individual or group.
- 2.4. International Activities
- Current global environmental problems are a concern to everyone. No one country can solve these problems alone. Therefore, it is necessary for all nations to join in the effort. Japan’s economy is closely interdependent with the rest of the world. As one of the larger economies, Japan benefits a great deal from the global environment and at the same time influences it greatly.All sectors of society, including the government, shall promote international cooperation with a view to maintaining a healthy global environment. By fully utilizing the experiences and technologies that have overcome severe domestic pollution in the past, Japan shall strive to make significant contributions, appropriate to its position in the global society.