Japan Environment Quarterly -Vol.3 No.2 March 1998-

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Japan Signs Kyoto Protocol
 Mr. Takayuki Kimura, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in charge of global environmental affairs, signs the Kyoto Protocol for Japan on 28 April 1998 at the United Nations Headquarters. Observers include Mr. Koichi Yamamoto, State Secretary for Environment(2nd from left).

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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 should take a lead among developed countries in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Japan will seek to promote positive national responses for this purpose. It is also important for developed countries to build the trust of developing countries by exhibiting the seriousness in their implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.
    Japan's carbon dioxide emissions increased considerably, by 9 percent from 1990 to 1996. For this reason, it is necessary to start immediately to take actions as much as possible to meet the targets smoothly and confidently in the first commitment period which starts in 2008.

    2. Characteristics of the New Law
    The core idea of this bill, essentially, is that it urges all the relevant social actors to make efforts to mitigate climate change, including formulation of plans for these actions and public reporting of the plans and the state of their implementation.
    In addition, measures included in the bill will contribute to strengthening Japan's measures to fight global warming, combined with other programs including energy conservation measures provided by the revised Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy.
    The bill aims to promote voluntary efforts of relevant social actors as much as possible and, therefore, does not provide a quantitative targets either on total national emissions or on 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 or accepts 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 limitation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This law provides a basis upon which government measures and initiatives by each social actors will be developed.

      (2) The law promotes measures to reduce all 6 GHG emissions. As to carbon dioxide, it promotes a variety of measures, not limited to traditional energy saving which has been promoted for long.

      (3) The law promotes public reporting of plans and the status of their implementation by the national Government and local authorities as well as business which emit large volumes of GHGs.

      (4) Local authorities are requested to implement detailed measures taking into account their local natural and social conditions, following the idea of "Think Globally, Act Locally."

      (5) The law provides measures to raise awareness and to provide information dissemination in order to promote climate friendly lifestyles of citizens. (In each prefecture, a Center for Promoting Activities to Prevent Global Warming will be designated, and voluntary advisors will be appointed to give advice to promote activities to prevent global warming.)

    3. Outline of the Bill

      (1) Objective
      To promote measures to prevent global warming, in order to contribute to the healthy and cultural life of present and future citizens, and 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 condition of climate and ecosystems and promote measures in a comprehensive way
        • to give consideration to policies of the national government so that they contribute to emissions limitations
        • to reduce GHG emissions resulting from activities of the national Government
        • to support measures of local authorities, and to give advice to activities of businesses, citizens and NGOs
        • to research response measures and climate systems
        • to conduct international cooperation

        b) Local Authorities

        • to implement measures taking local natural and social conditions into account
        • to reduce GHG emissions resulting from activities of local authorities
        • to provide information to local businesses and citizens

        c) Businesses

        • to make efforts to limit GHG emissions relating to business activities, and to cooperate on measures taken by local authorities and the national government

        d) Citizens

        • to make efforts to limit GHG emissions relating to daily life, and to cooperate on measures taken by local authorities and the national government

      (4) Basic Guidelines

        a) Basic Guidelines
        The Government should establish the Basic Guidelines on measure to tackle global warming. The Guidelines should include;
        1. basic direction for response measures, and;
        2. basic items for measures taken by the national government, local authorities, businesses and citizens.

        b) Exemplary Action Plans of Government
        The Government shall make an action plan for limitation of GHGs resulting from activities of the Government. It shall make the status of implementation public.

      (5) Promotion of Voluntary Actions of Each Social Actor
        a) Exemplary Action Plans of Local Authorities
        • Prefectural governments shall make exemplary action plans for limitation of GHGs resulting from their activities.
        • Municipal governments are recommended to make exemplary action plans.
        • Local authorities which have established plans shall make public the plans and implementation status.

        b) Initiatives of Businesses
        Businesses which emit large amounts of GHGs shall make efforts to limit emissions of GHGs. They shall also make efforts to contribute to the emission limitation efforts by others (e.g. through providing energy efficient apparatus).

      (6) Limiting GHG Emissions Resulting from Daily Activities, etc.

        a) Prefectural governors are authorized to appoint voluntary advisors who promote awareness raising for climate friendly lifestyles. Prefectural governors are also authorized to designate an existing organization as the prefectural Center for Promoting Activities to Prevent Global Warming.

        b) The Director General of the Environment Agency may designate an existing organization as the national Center for Promoting Activities to Prevent Global Warming in order to promote awareness raising and information dissemination nationwide, carry out research to promote climate friendly lifestyles, and provide information for consumers about climate friendly goods, etc.

      (7) Public Reporting of Total Emissions of GHGs
      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 limit 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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Promoting Environment Month in Japan
    June 5 was the opening day of the historic United Nations Conference on Human Environment in 1972 in Stockholm, and was stipulated as Environment Day in Japan in the Basic Environment Law in 1993 for its commemoration. The United Nations has declared June 5 Environment Day, responding to a Japanese proposal in Stockholm. On this day, various events and ceremonies are held in each country so as to promote environmental protection activities.
    Since 1990, the Environment Agency has taken the initiative to hold Environment Month in June (Environment Week was held each year from 1973 until 1989). National and local governments as well as companies, NGOs and other organizations hold various events countrywide during June each year to improve awareness and action for the environment. In order to put the results of the Kyoto Conference on Global Warming last December into action, Environment Month in 1998 will feature climate change and promote activities for real change of lifestyles to help reduce human impact on the climate.
    The Environment Agency is planning or supporting more than 20 events and ceremonies during June, such as the Environment Day Gathering and Awards Ceremony; the Eco-Life Fair '98; the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Environment Exhibition; and an Environmental Musical Puppet Show.

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Eco-Cooking Contest
    In order to get more people involved in environmental protection activities which can be done on a daily basis, the Center for Environmental Information Science are holding an Eco-Cooking Contest under the auspices of the Japan Environment Agency and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, with the cooperation of the Research and Information Service for Food and Life and Tokyo Gas, Co., Ltd. Recipes are being solicited and published for dishes which minimize environmental impact and can be incorporated into a daily lifestyle that shows regard for the global environment. Through popularization of eco-cooking as one way many people can easily help protect the environment, it is hoped that people will learn how easy it is to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle.
    The recipes must be original, unique, and delicious, and demonstrate concern for the environment in preparation methods and choice of ingredients. Furthermore, they must be named aptly and memorably.
    Particularly good recipes will be chosen to receive an award from the Director General of the Environment Agency. The winners will be announced during Environment Month (June) at the Eco-life Fair '98.

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Neighborhood Experiment in Earth-Friendly Lifestyles
    The Environment Agency and Setagaya Ward in Tokyo conducted an experiment in environmentally friendly living from November 4 to December 10, 1997, with the cooperation of the Daizawanaka neighborhood association in Setagaya. The aim was to see how well a group of households could adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle during the course of 37 days by reducing gas and electricity use and thus CO2 emissions, for example by turning off room lights when not needed and by unplugging electrical equipment when not in use.
    The results were determined by questionnaires distributed to 1,098 households, of which 659 responded (response rate of 60.0%). Nine of the items on the questionnaire were in the category of "Things to do right away," and of these, six items showed a high rate of compliance, with about 40% of respondents indicating that they "always complied". Rates of compliance varied greatly among items. Many cooperated by turning off lights when not needed, while few tried to reduce the use of rice cookers just to keep rice warm. Reasons for not complying with other items included forgetting to do the activity, while the most commonly indicated reason was "it was a bother."
    This experiment found that households which made a sincere effort to comply (those who complied with 6-8 of the "Things to do right away") reduced their gas and CO2 emissions by 5% compared with the previous year, resulting in a reduction of about 6.1 kg of carbon per household per month. If every household across Japan were to do this, it would reduce carbon emissions by 1.3 million tons a year. Even households which were completely new to the concept of environmentally friendly living were able to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 3.2% (5.6 kg C/household per month). For all of the households in the study, the overall reduction in carbon dioxide emissions was 1.9%, or 3.8 kg C/ household each month.
    In the future the Environment Agency hopes to analyze in more detail the possibilities for further household CO2 emissions reductions, investigate how to get municipalities and NGOs involved, and produce pamphlets for municipalities and the general public in order to promote an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
    Inhabitants of the Daizawanaka area were known to have high awareness of eco-friendly lifestyles to start with. A previous survey showed that households with high awareness of the importance of reducing energy consumption already consume about 15% less energy than similar households without that awareness. Therefore, if people throughout Japan were to make the efforts that those in Daizawanaka made, reductions in energy usage could exceed 10%.
Figure: Compliance rates with "Things to do right away."


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'98 Junior Eco-Club National Festival
    The '98 Junior Eco-Club National Festival was held on March 28 and 29 in the Nagoya City Public Hall and Tsuruma Park in Nagoya.
    On the first day of the festival about 400 club members, their adult supporters and 15 participants from India, Indonesia and Thailand got together to exchange views on their environmental activities. The next day, eight thousand people enjoyed musical performances, games, and a chance to hear children from the other countries talk about their activities.
    The Junior Eco-Club movement launched in 1995 by the Environment Agency for elementary and junior high school students, and there are now 3,500 Junior Eco-Clubs throughout Japan.
 Children search for creative new ideas during the festival among hundreds of walldisplays. Children from Junior Eco-Clubs around the country prepared more than 300 visual displays for the festival, illustrating their own local environmental activities and experiences.

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"Eco-Life One Million Pledges"
    The Japan Environment Agency has promoted the national campaign "Eco-Life One Million Pledges" since June of 1997. This campaign involves individuals selecting an action which can be done at home or at the workplace in order to prevent global warming, and registering their pledge to make a sincere effort to do this action. Participants will be encouraged to band together to support each others' efforts to actualize an eco-friendly lifestyle. Thus this movement aims to empower the people of Japan show initiative in building an environmentally friendly society. The movement aims to attract one million participants by the end of March 1998.
    As of the end of March, 935,603 persons had registered, with the number increasing at a steady pace, not flagging after the Kyoto Conference on climate change last December. By analyzing the content of pledges made the Environment Agency calculates that an annual reduction of CO2 emissions of about 43,392 tons per year can be anticipated as the result of this movement. This figure is about 0.01% of total emissions from Japan in 1995, and 0.1% of household emissions.
    Future activities include follow-up with the people who made the Eco-Life Pledge, and efforts to make as many people as possible know about the issue of global warming.

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Less CO2 Stickers!
    The Environment Agency distributed thousands of "Less CO2" stickers starting on June 5, Environment Day, to promote awareness of the Kyoto Protocol. An explanation attached to the stickers reminds people that walking and cycling are climate-friendly forms of transport and explains the Kyoto Protocol. The messages on the stickers are written in English to make people think of the global nature of climate change. Several of these stickers are found throughout this issue of JEQ.

     More Stickers

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PRTR Pilot Project Interim Report Announced
    The Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) Pilot Project in Japan was initiated in June 1997 after a PRTR advisory group proposed its framework. Originally adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit as a part of Agenda 21, PRTRs have already been introduced in several countries, and in 1996, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adopted a Council Recommendation requesting its member countries to take steps to introduce some form of PRTR. The aim of Japan's pilot project is to test out the process of cataloging releases and transfers of potentially harmful chemicals by having businesses report figures on each chemical on a target chemicals list to the government, which then compiles the reports and makes detailed information publicly available.
    This is the first ever attempt to catalog such information in Japan. Reporting for the pilot project was voluntary and limited to target areas for the study, with the confidentiality of each facility to be maintained. The data so far collected have been compiled in the interim report, which is being provided to many businesses and made available over the Internet. In addition, seminars are being held in seven cities across Japan to explain the report, and comments are being solicited from all levels of society through the end of June 1998.
    The pilot project is expected to bring up technical and institutional problems that will need to be resolved. A comprehensive final evaluation in August will give recommendations to help ensure introduction of a PRTR system suitable to Japan.
    The target areas of the study were Kawasaki City, another area in Kanagawa Prefecture and an industrial area near Nagoya. About 1800 medium-to large- scale business establishments in these areas were asked to provide information on releases into air, water, and soil and transfers as waste of 178 chemical substances deemed harmful. The response rate was 52%, of which 53% reported they were handling "target chemical substances." Bigger companies were more likely to respond and also more likely to report the release and transfer of the substances.
    Japan will host an OECD international conference on PRTRs in September entitled "PRTRs: National and Global Responsibility".

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FY1998 Environmental Conservation Budget
    The Japanese Diet adopted on April 8 the national budget bill which includes a budget for environmental conservation for the 1998 fiscal year (April 1998 until March 1999). The total budget is 2.7287 trillion yen (about US$20 billion), down 3.3 percent from the previous year. This budget has been arranged along the lines of the policies indicated in Japan's Basic Environment Plan, as shown below (note that there is double-counting).

      1) Building a socioeconomic system fostering a sound material cycle (sewerage, facilities for waste disposal/recycling, resource and energy conservation, etc.) 2,287.3 billion yen (about US$16 billion)
      2) Ensuring harmonious coexistence between humankind and nature (natural parks, urban parks, forest environment facilities, conserving biodiversity, etc.) 417.4 billion yen (about US$3 billion)
      3) Participation by all sectors of society (environmental education, government initiatives, resource and energy conservation, etc.) 415.8 billion yen (about US$3 billion)
      4) Measures forming the basis of environmental policy (environmental impact assessment, research and development for environmental conservation, improvement of infrastructure, etc.) 2,191.3 billion yen (about US$16 billion)
      5) Promoting international activities (financial contributions to international organizations, assistance to developing countries, etc.) 72.3 billion yen (about US$0.5 billion)
      6) Other 10.3 billion yen (about US$0.07 billion)

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Governmental Eco-Purchasing System
    The Environment Agency recently established a system for identifying and recommending products with reduced environmental impacts for governmental purchasing. The system makes it possible to certify four types of products (information paper, printing paper, photocopy machines and automobiles) in three categories (paper, office automation equipment and government vehicles). The acceptance of applications from companies and businesses for certification of their "environment-friendly" products was started on March 23, 1998. The products must meet the criteria stipulated in the government guidelines entitled "Recommended List for Specification of Materials, etc. of Goods and Products with Low Environmental Load" which were published as Notification of the Environment Agency in an official gazette.
    Products certified will be placed on a list that will then be published and distributed to Japanese governmental and other organizations throughout the country. The list will serve as a reference guide when government ministries and agencies wish to purchase products that have less impact on the environment.
    For further information about the certification system and listing a product on the government recommended lists, please contact the Environmental Planning Section, Planning and Coordination Division of the Environment Agency by fax at +81-3-3581-5951.

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"Best Beaches 55" Environmental Swimming Sites
    With the aim of making pleasant and clean natural swimming sites more widely available to the Japanese public, the Environment Agency introduced a new system for recognizing good swimming sites. Fifty-five beaches including one on a river were selected for the honor nationwide.
    The idea for this new honorary system was recommended in a report from a round-table meeting titled the "Future of Comfortable Swimming Sites". When the Environment Agency later asked each prefecture to recommend sites for selection, 38 prefectures recommended 186 swimming sites out of a total of 810 nationwide. The Environment Agency then organized a committee to select 55 of the best beaches for the honor, based on the following criteria: (1) environmental quality; (2) unique roles of local communities such as beach clean-up activities and local promotion activities; (3) safety; and (4) accessibility and amenities. The awards were announced in May, and the next selection of the "Best Beaches 55 " will be in three years.

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Environmental Counselors' Register
    Persons with expert knowledge and experience who advise citizens, NGOs, enterprises, and other organizations in environmental conservation activities can be registered as "Environmental Counselors" if certain requirements of the Environment Agency are met. This register system was initiated in September 1996.
    The Environment Agency recently published a new registry of 1,489 Environmental Counselors, consisting of 503 new persons and 986 from the previous year.
    This time, of 788 people who responded to an invitation to register, 503 were selected after examination including reviews of their applications and interviews. Experience in environmental conservation activities or qualifications concerning environmental conservation are taken into consideration.
    The registry includes each counselor's name, address and phone number, field of specialty, and profile and is being distributed widely to all of Japan's local governments, in order to promote environmental protection activities nationwide. The next call for registration is expected to be held in September.

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2-12 Meetings of subsidiary bodies (SBSTA, DBI, AG13) of UNFCCC (Bonn, Germany)
22-25 Asia Pacific Seminar on Climate Change
(Phuket, Thailand)
29-July 3 Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Persistent Organic Pollutants
(Montreal, Canada)
9-11 OECD International Conference on PRTRs
(Tokyo, Japan)
19-20 ECO ASIA '98
(Sendai, Japan)
20-21 APEC Symposium on Environmental Education toward Sustainable Cities
(Sendai, Japan)
3-6 Japanese-German Panel for Research and Development on Environment Protection Technology
2-13 Fourth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC
(Buenos Aires, Argentine)
30-Dec. 11Twenty-second Session World Heritage Committee
(Kyoto, Japan)

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan