Japan Environment Quarterly --Vol.7 No.2 July 2002--

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Conference on "Wa-no-Kuni-Kurashi"

Opinion leaders from various field, at the Conference on "Wa-no-Kuni-Kurashi"

On February 13, 2002, the Headquarters for Promotion of Efforts to Prevent Global Warming decided to organize a conference with the collaboration of ministers concerned, entitled Conference on "Wa-no-Kuni-Kurashi," as part of efforts to encourage citizen's lifestyles for preventing global warming. On 16 February, the first conference was held in Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo with the attendance of opinion leaders from various fields.
     As reported in Vol. 6 No. 2 of the JEQ (June 2001), the concept of 'Wa no Kuni' is the main theme of the 2001 edition of the government's annual White Paper on the environment. 'Wa' means both 'the environment' and 'circulation,' and 'kuni' means country. 'Wa no Kuni' thus signifies a recycling-based society.
     The conference for "Life in 'Wa no Kuni'" aims to (1) develop ideas on how people can live lifestyles that prevent global warming, (2) discuss how to effectively promote such activities in various fields, and (3) actively report the results of discussions and related information through various media and encourage each actor in society to take concrete action.
     There are plans to establish sub-committees to discuss more specific issues from practical and technical perspectives and to disseminate information through various media on a variety of occasions, such as by holding lecture meetings. A second conference will be held this summer. A liaison committee of the ministries concerned shares information and makes decisions on sub-committee meetings.
     A Japanese-language website has been set up for "Wa-no-Kurashi" ( http://www.wanokurashi.ne.jp) to provide information to the public and to invite people to report their own unique initiatives and new ideas.

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Banff Statement of G8 Environment Ministers

The Environment Ministers of G8 countries met from 12 to 14 April in Banff, Canada, to discuss three main topics in the context of the upcoming Johannesburg Summit--environment and development, environmental governance, and environment and health. They adopted a ministerial statement outlining the initiatives that should be taken.
     The statement includes four areas: "Toward A Successful World Summit on Sustainable Development," "Environment and Development," "Environment and Health," and "National and International Governance." The Environment Ministers reaffirm the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and determine to take the lead by taking strong actions. In addition the ministers state that they will work together to prepare concrete proposals in key sectors, including (1) sustainable water resource management, and (2) energy conservation and renewable energy.
     Environment Minister Hiroshi Ohki took this opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with counterparts from the US, the UK, Russia, Canada and the European Union. In meetings with the US, Russia and Canada he urged stronger efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encouraged them to work for early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. With the UK and the European Commission he exchanged information about the details of domestic climate change policy and shared views regarding co-operative efforts for early ratification of the Protocol.

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Fourth Environment Ministers Meeting of China, Japan and Korea (TEMM)

Three Ministers at the joint press conference (from left to right, Mr. Ohki, Ms. Kim, Mr. Xie)

On 20 and 21 April, the Fourth Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM) among Korea, China and Japan was held in Seoul. Japan was represented by Minister Ohki of the Ministry of the Environment.
     The ministers focused on the ongoing TEMM projects that had been affirmed by the Tripartite Meetings in the three previous years, including those relating to environmental education, joint environmental training for admin istrative officials, and environ mental industries. They addressed the regional issues of ecological conservation and sand dust (yellow sand or kosa) in North China, and global issues of preparations for Johannesburg Summit and the pre vention of global warming. At the end of the meeting, the ministers signed a joint communiqu%8E.
     The ministers reported that they were tackling the issue of global warming in their respective countries, and agreed to strengthen their efforts, both domestically and internationally.
     Regarding the upcoming Johannesburg Summit, they affirmed the importance of preparations in order to ensure that the situations of Asian countries are properly reflected in discussions at the Summit. They also concurred with the view that at this point, action towards sustainable development is more important than a continuation of debate.

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APFED Message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

Opinion leaders from various field, at the Conference on "Wa-no-Kuni-Kurashi"

The second meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum for the Environment and Development (APFED)* was held in Jakarta on May 4 and 5. It was jointly hosted by the Japanese Ministry of the Environ ment, the UN Economic and Social Com mission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment. The meeting reached agreement on recommendations to the WSSD to be held this August in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as on APFED's commitments. These results were compiled in mid-May in the APFED Message to the WSSD.
     The APFED Message includes recommendations on themes that are particularly important for the realization of sustainable development, including freshwater resources, renewable energy, trade, finance, and urbanization, as well as cross-cutting themes such as good governance (governmental and social structures and systems at the global, regional, and domestic levels) and capacity building. It also includes specific commitments for APFED to undertake in the future. The message was delivered to the Fourth Preparatory Meeting for the WSSD at the New Partner ship Initiatives for Sustain able Development in Asia and the Pacific Region meeting in Bali, Indonesia on June 3. There are also plans to present it during the WSSD in August. The full text of the APFED message is available at http://www.iges.or.jp/apfed-message.

*APFED is a forum of 23 experts, established in October 2001 at the meeting of the Congress of Environment Ministers of the Asia- Pacific Region (ECO ASIA 2001), and chaired by former Japanese prime minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto. Its aim is to present a model by the end of 2004 for equitable and sustainable development that is appropriate for the Asia-Pacific region.

     Japan's Environment Minister, Hiroshi Ohki, held a meeting with Mr. Jan Pronk, Special Envoy for the United Nations Secretary General on May 9, 2002. Mr. Pronk expressed his hope that Prime Minister Koizumi will attend the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and encouraged the active contribution of the Japanese government in the Summit. In addition, Mr. Pronk said that Japanese industry possesses the power to contribute significantly to sustainable development, particularly in terms of technology, and urged the Japanese government to encourage industry initiatives toward the WSSD. Ohki reported the results of the meeting to Prime Minister Koizumi on May 10.

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Second Meeting of the Japan-U.S. High-Level Consultations on Climate Change

Japan and the United States concur that climate change is a pressing global problem requiring a global approach. Based on this shared view, they decided to hold consultations to explore common ground and areas for common action on climate change.
     On 5 April this year, the Second Meeting of the Japan-U.S. High-Level Consultations on Climate Change were held at the Ministry of the Environment in Tokyo. They were attended by Mr. Hiroshi Ohki, Minister of the Environment for Japan, Dr. Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State, and Mr. James Connaughton, Chairman, Council on Environ mental Quality (U.S.).
     Minister Ohki reported on Japanese efforts for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and urged the United States to strengthen their efforts. The representatives of the United States introduced the country's climate change policies that were announced in February.
     As the result of the meeting, considering the target of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, both countries agreed that they would make further efforts to address this long-term problem, and would continue working-level consultations regarding market mechanisms, science and technology, and developing country issues.
     More information about these consultations is available on the Internet at http://www.env.go.jp/en/global/cc/020405.html.

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Kanagawa Declaration on Local Governments and Environment

Participants at the symposium

The International Environmental Symposium for Asian Local Governments was held on 27 and 28 April 2002 in Yokohama, under the auspices of Kanagawa Prefecture and the Ministry of the Environment. The subtitle of this symposium was "Local Initiatives for Sustainable Development."
     About two hundred thirty people from local governments, a governmental organization, intergovernmental organizations, companies, NGOs and the public from Asian region attended this symposium. They summarized information about their efforts so far for environmental conservation in Asia and discussed local governments' role and how they can work together to better tackle the problems.
     The meeting concluded with the adopting of the Kanagawa Declaration on Asian Local Government's Initiatives for Sustainable Development, which aims to promote the initiatives of local bodies and to strengthen networks between local governments in Asia. There are plans to announce this declaration during the Johannesburg Summit in August this year and at the Fourth Session of the Preparatory Meeting for the Summit.

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Procedures in Japan toward Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC

On 13 February 2002, the Global Warming Prevention Headquarters adopted plans that are intended to lead Japan toward ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. With an eye to the Johannesburg Summit starting at the end of August this year, efforts will be made during the current Diet session to obtain approval for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and for passage of the necessary supporting laws.
     On 19 March 2002, the Government of Japan decided the New Climate Change Programme, whose aim is to set out specific policies and measures necessary for the achievement of Japan's 6% emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. This Programme maps out more than a hundred policies and measures based on four fundamental principles: (1) balance between environmental and economic priorities, (2) a step-by-step approach, (3) shared responsibility, and (4) international co-operation in efforts to deal with climate change.
     The proposal for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the Bill on Amendments of the Climate Change Policy Law were submitted to the Diet on 29 March, and approved on 31 May. Following the approval, the Cabinet made the final decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on June 4. On the same day, the instrument of acceptance was deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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CEC Makes Recommendations on Air Environment

On 16 April 2002, after the Air Environment Committee of Japan's Central Environment Council finalized its fifth report of deliberations on "Future Policy for Motor Vehicle Exhaust Emission Reduction", the Council's chairman presented the report to the Minister of the Environment. The report's recommendations include (1) new long-term targets for emissions from diesel motor vehicles, which will be effective from 2005, (2) new long-term targets for emissions from gasoline motor vehicles and deadlines for achieving them, (3) a revision of test modes, (4) a reduction of sulfur in gasoline, and other items. The Ministry of the Environment plans to strengthen regulations based on this report.

New Long-term Target Values for Diesel and Gasoline Motor Vehicles
Diesel Motor Vehicles
  PM NOx NMHC CO Achievement Timing
Passenger cars Small-sized 0.013 0.14 0.024 0.63 2005
Medium-sized 0.014 0.15 0.024 0.63 2005
Trucks & Buses Light-duty (less than 1.7 tons in Gross Vehicle Weight) 0.013 0.14 0.024 0.63 2005
Medium-duty (over 1.7 tons and less than 3.5 tons in Gross Vehicle Weight) 0.015 0.25 0.024 0.63 2005
Heavy-duty (over 3.5 tons) 0.027 2.0 0.17 2.22 2005

Gasoline Motor Vehicles
  CO NMHC NOx Achievement Timing
Passenger cars, Mini-sized passenger cars 0.05 0.05 1.15 2005
Mini-sized trucks 0.05 0.05 4.02 2007
Trucks & Buses Light-duty (less than 1.7 tons in Gross Vehicle Weight) 0.05 0.05 1.15 2005
Medium-duty (over 1.7 tons and less than 3.5 tons) 0.07 0.05 2.55 2005
Heavy-duty (over 3.5 tons) 0.7 0.23 16.0 2005
Notes: 1) Unit of target values: g/kWh (heavy-duty trucks & buses), g/km (all others).
2) GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight. NMHC: Non-methane Hydrocarbon.

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Japan's Revised National Biodiversity Strategy

Satoyama: areas located between urban areas and remote mountain areas, which have favorable environments developed and maintained by local people's harmonious lifestyle with nature, fostering variety of life forms. These areas are mainly comprised of secondary forests around villages, together with rice fields, other agricultural plots, reservoirs, grasslands, etc.

On 27 March 2002, the government of Japan completed a comprehensive revision of the National Biodiversity Strategy that had been previously adopted in October 1995. The previous national strategy was a collection of measures put together in response to the entry into force of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in December 1993. It covered issues that required immediate attention by the government of Japan for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The key features of the recent revision are the description of the conditions relating to biodiversity in Japan in recent years in terms of three "crises," and the identification of the major themes of basic principles for the measures that are needed to conserve biodiversity. The three crises of biodiversity
The new National Biodiversity Strategy deals with three crises affecting biodiversity in Japan. The first is the extinction of species and destruction of ecosystems (including damage to habitats) caused by development activities and over-harvesting. The second is the loss of habitat and threat of species extinction in satoyama ecosystems caused by reductions and changes in the characteristics of human activities, due to the migration of people away from the countryside and the modernization of agricultural methods. The third crisis is the invasion of alien species brought in by human activities; also included in this category is the ecological impact of manmade chemicals.
Major policy measures for biodiversity conservation
The new National Biodiversity Strategy identifies seven themes requiring priority action in order to conserve biodiversity and promote its sustainable use in Japan. The ministries and agencies concerned are expected to cooperate to promote concrete policy measures regarding these themes.

  1. Reinforce the conservation of priority areas for biodiversity, and formation of Ecological Networks based on these areas.
  2. Promote sustainable use of nature resources in order to conserve the satoyama where biodiversity was previously maintained through traditional agricultural methods, etc.
  3. Conserve wetlands (such as marshes, seaweed beds, tidal wetlands, and coral reefs, etc.) that serve as important habitat for diverse species.
  4. Promote nature restoration projects that raise the quality of ecosystems through restoration and recovery of degraded natural areas, by using human intervention to help the natural recovery process.
  5. Comprehensively protect and manage wild species, such as through strengthening the protection of marine mammals and raptores, and implementa tion of countermeasures to address the problem of alien species, as well as avoidance of species extinction.
  6. Improve data on the natural environment relating to biological diversity, by promoting basic research, establishing 1,000 monitoring sites, and implementing research in shallow sea areas.
  7. Utilize a broad variety of effective conservation approaches, such as environmental assessments, economic incentives, and consensus-building systems through citizen participation, in addition to the use of the protected area system.

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Environmental Accounting Guidelines 2002

In March this year, a special review committee under the Ministry of the Environment released the Environmental Accounting Guidelines 2002. Environmental accounting consists of accounting procedures that companies and organizations can use to evaluate and report the costs and benefits of environmental conservation, in terms of physical quantities or monetary units. For companies, it is used as an analytical tool for management; for stakeholders environmental accounting can provide useful information to help understand corporate efforts for environmental conservation.
     The Ministry of the Environment aims to establish a unified framework for environ ment accounting. In the year 2000, the Ministry released a report entitled "Developing an Environmental Accounting System (Year 2000 Report)." The 2002 guidelines were revised based on new developments after the 2000 report, such as progress at the working level in companies and the formulation of "Environmental Reporting Guidelines" and "Environ mental Performance Indicators for Business" by the Ministry of the Environment.
     There are four important features in the revised guidelines: (1) clarification of items to be reported, keeping in mind how this information can be used outside the company, (2) refinement of categories of expenditures for environmental conservation, (3) more systematic classification of the environmental conservation benefits, and (4) more systematic classification of the economic benefits associated with environmental conservation measures.

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Junior Eco-Club in Japan

Children at the Festival in Odawara

Young people in Japan are getting their share of environmental fun and learning. Starting in 1995, in collaboration with local governments the Ministry of the Environment has supported the Junior Eco-Club in Japan, a club to encourage environmental studies and activities among elementary and junior high school students. Since its inception, participation has nearly tripled, from 28,435 members in 1,862 clubs the first year, to 75,244 members in 4160 clubs today.
     Each club is composed of up to about thirty young members, and is assisted by adult supporters. Junior Eco-Club members voluntarily study topics about the environment and undertake conservation activities, based on their own interests. Some members survey water quality, others tackle recycling, and still others survey energy consumed at home and practice energy conservation. The Ministry of the Environment has commissioned the secretariat functions to the Japan Environ ment Association, which dis tributes pocketbooks, member ship badges and newsletters that provide tips for environmental activities and introduce the initiatives of other clubs.
     The Junior Eco-Club National Festival is held every year to provide opportunities for children to get to know other members and their activities. In March of fiscal year 2001, the festival was held in Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and in fiscal year 2002 it will be held in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture.

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Design Competition Winners Announced


The Ministry of the Environment recently awarded the top prizes for best entries submitted in a design competition. The Ministry publicly solicited entries between July 12 last year and January 31 this year. A total of 1057 submissions were received  807 from students of elementary and junior high schools, and 250 from senior high school students and adults. The creator of the top designs from each group receive an Environment Minister's award. From the first group, Homare Nagano, a second grade student at Wadamisaki Elementary School in Kobe City was selected, and from the second group, Mr. Yutaka Horie, a graphic designer from Hiroshima Prefecture. Homare Nagano's design, on the left, is used on the cover of the 2002 issue of Japan's annual White Paper on the Environment. Mr. Horie's design, above, is used on posters in Japan for World Environment Day (June 5) and Environment Month.

26-4 Sep Johannesburg Summit--the World Summit on Sustainable Development- (Johannesburg, South Africa)
24-27 The Third Japan-China-Korea Tripartite Workshop and Symposium on Environmental Education (Korea)
23-1 Nov COP8 (New Delhi, India)
2-16 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (Chile)
17-26 Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Valencia, Spain)
9-13 6th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Basel Convention (Geneva, Switzerland)


Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan