Message from Minister of the Environment, Japan
First statement from the new Minister
I have once again fully recognized the weight of responsibility as Minister of the Environment for "protecting human beings and the environment."
First of all, I understand that the post-earthquake reconstruction is in transition to a new stage as five years have passed since the outbreak of the Great East Japan Earthquake. We intend to complete decontamination within this fiscal year in accordance with our plan and promote further restoration, reconstruction and revitalization of disaster-affected areas so that the people in those areas including Fukushima can live in safety and without fear. We also intend to make our best efforts to build interim storage facilities, dispose of waste contaminated by radioactive substances, and provide healthcare for residents and address their health concerns relating to radiation.
The Kumamoto Earthquake, which occurred last April, also caused enormous damage. Based on the lessons learnt from the Great East Japan Earthquake, we are determined to support, to the best of our ability, disaster waste disposal and other activities towards early restoration and reconstruction.
For Japan's further growth, it is essential to establish a new society in which low-carbon, resource cycle, and coexistence with nature are integrated, namely, the "Circulatory Symbiotic Society." With regard to the climate change issue in particular, it is high time to put the "Paris Agreement," adopted at the end of last year, into actual practice. We will aim for its early ratification and actively advance our policies and measures including fundamental enhancement of the nationwide campaign for the low-carbon lifestyle.
In addition, we will take a broad-based approach to secure the health of all people and a sound environment such as implementing resource recycling measures, conserving biodiversity, and promoting the "Visit! National Park Project," which provides high-quality, high-value added tourism by making the most of the beautiful nature in national parks.
Regarding nuclear emergency preparedness, I am fully aware as the Minister of State for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness that the government bears the responsibility to protect people's health and property in the event of a nuclear accident, and I will make continuous efforts, together with local governments, for nuclear disaster prevention. As for nuclear regulations, I will support the Nuclear Regulation Authority's independent and neutral efforts to improve safety in the aspects of securement of budgets and improvement of the system.
"Protection of human beings and the environment" is the common mission to be achieved in our efforts to reconstruct Fukushima, establish a "Circulatory Symbiotic and Inclusive Society," and prevent nuclear disaster, all of which are essential part of building a new society full of dreams. As I am resolved to make every effort to tackle these tasks, your kind cooperation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Minister of the Environment of Japan
Kouichi Yamamoto was appointed as Minister of the Environment of Japan in August 2016.
Previously, Yamamoto worked at ship companies and then, served for Ehime prefectural assembly. He was first elected to the House of Representative in 1993. Since he was engaged in COP3 at Kyoto as Parliamentary Secretary for Environment of Japanese government, he has worked deeply on policy-making in the areas of the environment, agriculture, fisheries, land, infrastructure and transport as a Diet member.
Yamamoto received a Bachelor of Economics from Keio University.
Tadahiko ItoState Minister of the Environment
Tadahiko Ito was appointed as State Minister of the Environment of Japan in August 2016.
Previously, Ito worked at a publicity company and then, served for Aichi prefectural assembly. He has been a Diet member since 2005. During his career, he has worked on policy-making in particular in the area of the transportation, agriculture, fisheries and international affairs. Also, he has devoted efforts to establish and deepen Japan's Arctic policy.
Ito received a Bachelor of Law from Waseda University.
Ito likes traveling, appreciating paintings and watching movies.
Yoshihiro SekiState Minister of the Environment
Yoshihiro Seki was appointed as State Minister of the Environment of Japan in August 2016.
Previously, Seki worked at a bank. He has been a Diet member since 2005. He served as Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry from September 2014 to October 2015. During his career, he has worked on policy-making in particular in the areas of economic growth strategy, financial revitalization, education, and culture.
Seki received a Bachelor of Economics from Kwansei Gakuin University and an MBA from Human Academy Business School of the University of Wales.
Seki likes playing game of go, Japanese chess and table tennis.
Natsumi HigaParliamentary Vice-Minister
Natsumi Higa was appointed as Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Environment of Japan in August 2016.
Higa has served as a dentist since 1986. She has been a Diet member since 2012. During her career, she has worked on policy-making in particular in the areas of health, labor and welfare and women's affairs.
Higa received a Bachelor of Dentistry from Fukuoka Dental College.
Higa has many certifications as regards an alcoholic beverage such as Chevaliers du Tastevin (issued in France), Chevaliers du Taste-Fromage de France (issued in France), International Judge at Japan Wine Challenge (issued in France), and KIKISAKE-SHI of Japanese Sake (issued in Japan).
Tatsunori IbayashiParliamentary Vice-Minister
Tatsunori Ibayashi was appointed as Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Environment of Japan in August 2016.
Previously, Ibayashi worked at Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. He has been a Diet member since 2012. During his career, he has worked on policy-making in particular in the areas of infrastructure, transport, and the environment.
Ibayashi received a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Engineering from Kyoto University.
Ibayashi likes playing baseball and swimming.