Environmental Policy

The Basic Environment Plan - Part III-Chapter 2

PART III. FUTURE POLICY ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Chapter 2.Harmonious Coexistence Between Nature and Humankind

    • 1.Basic Direction
      • 1.1. Preserving primitive nature
      • 1.2. Conserving superior nature
      • 1.3. Forests, farmlands and waterside areas
      • 1.4. Expanding the natural environment
      • 1.5. Management of fauna and flora
    • 2. Comprehensive and Systematic Policy Implementation
  • Section 1.Coexistence compatible with the region's natural/social characteristics
    • 1.Mountainous areas
      • 1.1. Primitive and outstanding nature
      • 1.2. Forests, farmlands and waterside areas
      • 1.3. Environmental considerations in public works
    • 2.Countryside areas
      • 2.1. Superior nature
      • 2.2. Forests, farmlands and waterside areas
      • 2.3. Parks and green spaces
      • 2.4. Environmental considerations in public works
      • 2.5. Wildlife habitats
    • 3.Areas with high human impact
      • 3.1. Superior nature
      • 3.2. Forests, farmlands and waterside areas
      • 3.3. Urban areas
      • 3.4. Environmental consideration in public works
      • 3.5. Coordination
    • 4.Coastal seas
      • 4.1. Superior nature
      • 4.2. Tidelands and seaweed beds
      • 4.3. Environmental consideration in public works
  • Section 2.Conserving Biodiversity
    • 1. Hunting and trading
    • 2. Managing designated species
    • 3. Introducing new species
    • 4. Environmental consideration in projects
    • 5. Investigative research
  • Section 3.Securing and Utilizing the Blessings of a Sound Environment
    • 1.Various efforts in regional planning
      • 1.1. Ensuring environmental amenities
    • 2.Responsible utilization of nature
      • 2.1. Promotion of responsible recreational use of nature
      • 2.2. Natural hot springs

OTHER CHAPTER

  • Chapter 1. Building a Socioeconomic System Fostering Environmentally Sound Material Cycle
  • Chapter 3. Participation by All Sectors of Society Sharing Fair Burden
  • Chapter 4. Measures Forming the Basis of Environmental Policy
  • Chapter 5. Promoting International Activities

1. Basic Direction

The soundness of the ecosystem, in all of the various regions, must be restored and maintained through a wise use of the environment. Everyday life, business activities and leisure activities, wherever they may be, must be an enriching experience for both nature and humankind. Thus harmonious coexistence between nature and people will be attained.

Taking into consideration the land's natural and social properties, the government shall implement various measures along the following directions. Consideration shall be made to maintain coordination with measures, to conserve the atmosphere, the water and the soil.

1.1. Preserving Primitive Nature

Primitive nature of international, domestic and regional importance shall be carefully conserved through public acquisitions and strict regulations of human activities in such regions, as priceless and dwindling treasures which form the core of Japan's ecosystems. They can also be utilized as symbols to obtain spiritual inspiration, as places to perform ecological research and, with appropriate administration for preservation, can be used as a place to study and experience nature.

1.2. Conserving Superior Nature

With wildlife's habitats, reproduction, landscape and scarcity in mind, places of important natural value shall be conserved by regulatory measures and conservation activities to keep ecosystems found in such places healthy. Necessary basic facilities shall, likewise, be established to ensure that these places, where radiant landscapes and wildlife come together, can be used as a type of natural laboratory.

1.3. Forests, Farmlands and Waterside Areas

The appropriate use of wood, agriculture and marine products from our forests, farmlands and waterside areas shall be maintained. By constructing public facilities and promoting civil conservation activities the natural environment shall be maintained. The entire natural environment, as a habitat and breeding ground for wildlife, must be ensured as well as possible. It is the place where life's resources, plants, water and fresh air can be experienced.

1.4. Expanding the Natural Environment

Natural environments have been decreasing in places. By promoting the enterprise of public facility maintenance and civil conservation activities natural and semi-natural environments like small animal habitats, parks, green spaces and shorelines shall be maintained. The natural characteristics of the region shall be considered when the environment is being restored and maintained. The natural environment can be used as a place where people can come into contact with nature such as plants, water and small animals in everyday life.

1.5. Management of Fauna and Flora

The plant and animal kingdom, their species, each individual, their habitats and breeding grounds are a fundamental elements of the ecosystem's structure. Their conservation shall be appropriately managed.

2. Comprehensive and Systematic Policy Implementation

Measures must be designed with scientific clarity as to the workings of each ecosystem, whether regional, national or global in scale. They must be designed so that they take into account people's need to come in contact with nature. The ecosystem must be restored and maintained in a sound and healthy manner. It must ensure that people and nature can coexist with one another harmoniously everywhere. The measures given below shall be systematically implemented and targets shall be set up as needed.

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Section 1. Coexistence Compatible with the Region's Natural/Social Characteristics

Places where people can interact with nature should be secured so that people can learn, experience and feel the fullness of nature. Of course, this can only take place if the nature in these regions is conserved according to its natural characteristics. The natural environment is the basis for sustaining food and wood production and its riches must be ensured.

To accomplish this objective, the following measures shall be comprehensively and systematically promoted, keeping in mind the particular characteristics of each region, such as mountainous areas, countryside areas, areas with high human impacts, or coastal seas.2 It is important to carefully consider that first, Japan's climate ranges from the subtropics in the South to the sub-Arctic in the North. Second, the mountains, forests, grasslands, farmlands, roadsides, residential areas, lakes, marshes, rivers, streams, swamps, tidelands, coasts and coral reefs found in nature each have their own special characteristics. Third, it is necessary to consider natural areas in wide areas such as river basins.

In implementing these measures, attention must also be paid to the forest's function as a carbon dioxide sink.

1. Mountainous Areas

The mountainous areas, where population density is low and covered by vast forests, contain much of Japan's natural forests and are home to many large wild animals including deer, bears and monkeys. The mountains are characterized by a low degree of human interference, as compared to other areas. They form the skeletal framework for the entire ecosystem of Japan. It is necessary to conserve primitive nature as well as places of important natural beauty which are found in mountainous areas. These areas must be available for people to interact with nature and for people to perform research in them. As communities within these areas experience population decreases and increases in the percentage of elderly persons, the environmental conservation capacity of these areas becomes more problematic. For the aforementioned reasons, the following measures shall be promoted.

1.1. Primitive and Outstanding Nature
1.2. Forests, Farmlands and Waterside Areas
A.
Closely interrelated primitive nature with their ecosystems, combined with splendid landscapes is typically representative of Japan. These areas shall be conserved by designating special areas, such as nature conservation areas , forest ecosystem conservation areas and national parks. They shall further be protected by strictly regulating activities within their borders and by promoting public acquisition.
B.
The habitats and breeding grounds found in places of important natural beauty, places blessed with beautiful landscapes, which are delicate, rare and unique shall be conserved. These areas shall be conserved by designating special areas, such as wildlife conservation areas, national parks, nature conservation areas or by designating certain areas as national treasures or conservation forests and by regulating activities within their borders. Areas which should have been conserved, but for some reason, artificial or natural, have not, shall be reforested and/or have their landscapes restored.
C.
Ways to ensure close cooperation between the conservation areas mentioned in A and B shall be closely examined.
D.
In these conserved areas, facilities should be systematically promoted to ensure experience and interaction with nature. Such activities should include nature explorations, wildlife observations and nature interpretation activities. In particularly important areas, land acquisition and the establishment and/or maintenance of facilities shall be promoted. These activities shall all be performed in a comprehensive and systematic manner, with the appropriate administrative systems provided.
A.
According to the region's particular characteristics, forest maintenance projects, to create, nurture and manage forests shall be promoted. These will ensure that appropriate forestry methods are employed like indigenous wood and multiple layered forestry.
B.
Environmentally friendly farming techniques shall be promoted. This includes consideration on wildlife habitats and breeding grounds, and reduced use of agricultural chemicals. This shall be suited to each region's own special characteristics and in cooperation with consumers.
C.
Comprehensive measures to ensure job opportunities and to maintain the environment in agricultural villages located in the mountains must be introduced. Human resources, responsible for maintaining and creating forest and farmland environments, shall be secured.
D.
Proper maintenance of agricultural land shall be promoted through community activities with the participation of local residents. Public assistance shall be considered if necessary.
1.3. Environmental Considerations in Public Works

When implementing public projects for such things as roads, rivers or farming communities, proper consideration shall be given to wildlife habitats, breeding grounds and landscape conservation.

2. Countryside Areas

Countryside areas are marked by relatively low population concentrations, a moderate amount of forest land, a great deal of secondary nature and many medium to large animals. Countryside areas have been shaped by human activities such as agriculture, forestry and fishing. These areas are witness to many different relationships between wildlife and humans and form what has become known as the archetypal Japanese 'hometown.'

It is necessary to attempt to conserve natural areas and to utilize them as places for human interaction with nature. It is also important to attempt to maintain forests and farmlands, particularly in regions with shrinking populations and a high proportion of elderly people. Likewise, secondary nature, such as wooded areas, should be appropriately managed. To achieve the aforementioned goals, the following measures shall be promoted.

2.1. Superior Nature
A.
Places of important natural beauty, such as wildlife habitats and breeding grounds, land blessed with tremendous landscapes and nature which is delicate, rare and unique shall be conserved. By designating special areas, such as wildlife conservation areas, nature parks, nature conservation areas, national treasures, green spaces or conservation forests and by regulating activities within their borders, these areas shall be conserved. Projects shall be promoted in areas, which should have conserved, but which, for some reason, natural or artificial, have not. These projects shall include reforestation and landscape restoration activities.
B.
In Countryside areas, substantive interaction between people and nature takes place in many ways. Field trips, camping, fishing and other outdoor activities in nature bring people in closer contact with nature. To ensure these types of interaction, facilities shall be promoted and their utilization encouraged. In areas of special importance, public land acquisition and the establishment or improvement of facilities, shall be promoted and administration systems provided.
2.2. Forests, Farmlands and Waterside Areas
A.
According to each region's particular characteristics, forest maintenance projects shall be systematically promoted in order to create, cultivate and maintain forests, as well as ensure proper forestry techniques such as indigenous wood and multiple layered forestry.
B.
Environmentally friendly farming techniques shall be promoted. This includes consideration on wildlife habitats and breeding grounds, and reduced use of agricultural chemicals. This shall be suited to each region's own special characteristics and in cooperation with consumers.
C.
Comprehensive measures to ensure job opportunities and to maintain the environment in agricultural villages located in the mountains must be introduced. Human resources, responsible for maintaining and creating forest and farmland environments shall be secured.
D.
Proper maintenance of agricultural land shall be promoted through community activities with the participation of local residents. Public assistance shall be considered if necessary.
E.
Nature determined to be in need of maintenance such as wooded areas, rice fields in valleys and aquatic areas shall be maintained and expanded. These shall be accomplished by tax measures, local and State participation and the cooperation of private sector conservation activities. To further promote interaction between people and secondary nature, the establishment of "nature paths" shall be promoted.
2.3. Parks and Green Spaces

According to the characteristics of the region, provisions of public facilities, like parks and green spaces, shall be promoted.

2.4. Environmental Considerations in Public Works

When pursuing public projects for roads, rivers, farming communities and the like, proper consideration shall be given to wildlife habitats, breeding grounds and landscape conservation. Likewise, the establishment and improvement of accessible green spaces and water areas shall be promoted.

2.5. Wildlife Habitats

With coordination between all of the conserved areas, the forests, farmlands and waterside areas, systematic wildlife conservation shall be promoted.

3. Areas with High Human Impacts

The "areas with high human impacts" have relatively high population densities, considerable areas of agricultural land and contain the majority of Japan's residential land. These areas are characterized by high concentrations of human activity within their borders. It is necessary to conserve the remaining natural forests and wetlands with their rich biological diversity. Likewise, forest and agricultural lands need to be created and maintained where they have disappeared. Secondary nature, such as woods and wooded residential areas need to be maintained to encourage human interaction with nature. Natural air purifiers and weather regulators, such as green spaces and aquatic areas are also needed. To secure these objectives, the following measures shall be promoted.

3.1. Superior Nature
A.
Superior nature, such as wildlife habitats and breeding grounds, land blessed with tremendous landscapes and nature which is delicate, rare and unique, as well as wooded areas in cities shall be conserved. By designating special areas, such as wildlife conservation areas, nature parks, nature conservation areas, national treasures, conserved green spaces, scenic areas or conservation forests and by regulating activities within their borders, these areas shall be conserved.
B.
In the areas mentioned above, to ensure interaction in everyday life, necessary facilities shall be systematically maintained and used in an environmentally friendly manner.
3.2. Forests, Farmlands and Waterside Areas
A.
Forest maintenance projects, tailored to each region's particular characteristics, shall be systematically promoted in order to create, cultivate and maintain forests, as well as ensure proper forestry techniques such as indigenous wood and multiple layered forestry.
B.
Environmentally friendly farming techniques shall be promoted. This includes consideration on wildlife habitats and breeding grounds, and reduced use of agricultural chemicals. This shall be suited to each region's own special characteristics and in cooperation with consumers. Farms located within cities shall be used as green spaces.
C.
The woods, wooded areas and waters remaining in cities, which have for the most part been recognized as necessarily deserving maintenance, shall be maintained in the same way as in countryside areas.
3.3. Urban Areas
A.
Comprehensive plans shall be made to encourage a natural environment in urban areas so that people can interact with nature everyday. These plans shall include conserving the remaining greenery, building parks and promoting tree planting.
B.
Tree planting and other activities which increase vegetation in cities shall be promoted in residential areas, factories and governmental facilities.
3.4. Environmental Consideration in Public Works

When pursuing public projects for such things as roads, rivers, airports and farming communities, due consideration shall be given to wildlife habitats, breeding grounds and landscape conservation. Likewise, the establishment and improvement of accessible green spaces and aquatic areas shall be promoted.

3.5. Coordination

There shall be coordination between all of the conserved environmental areas, the forests, farmlands, waterside areas and green spaces. Systematic and comprehensive efforts shall be promoted to ensure such integration.

4. Coastal Seas

"Coastal seas" refers to sea surfaces, underwater space and shorelines that fall within Japanese territorial waters. These areas, with diversified ecosystems, are characterized by tidelands, coral reefs and beds of seaweed. They are also especially rich in marine products. Superior nature must be conserved, while simultaneously ensuring that tidelands, coral reefs and seaweed beds be conserved. Moreover, it is essential that people be able to enjoy the sea, to interact with and experience it. The following measures, in coordination with marine pollution control measures, shall be promoted to ensure these objectives.

4.1. Superior Nature
A.
Places of important natural beauty, such as marine habitats and breeding grounds, underwater formations and seashores shall be conserved. This shall be accomplished by designating special areas, such as underwater marine parks, marine life conservation areas and special underwater conservation areas and by regulating activities within these areas. Restoration projects shall be promoted in areas which should have been conserved, but for some reason, artificial or natural, have not.
B.
Measure to coordinate conservation activities between the areas mentioned above shall be examined.
C.
To ensure that people are able to enjoy the sea, necessary facilities shall be created or maintained and their environmentally friendly utilization encouraged.
4.2. Tidelands and Seaweed Beds

Maintenance and administration of marine resources shall be ensured through fishery regulations. Tidelands and seaweed beds shall be conserved by designating certain areas as conserved waters for example. Consequently, the ocean's purification capacity shall be enhanced and the habitats and breeding grounds of numerous marine species shall be safeguarded.

4.3. Environmental Consideration in Public Works
A.
When pursuing projects to improve or establish harbors, fishing ports or coastal areas, careful consideration shall be given to conserving marine life habitats, breeding grounds and underwater formations. The establishment of green spaces and marine areas accessible to the general public shall be promoted.
B.
When reclaiming coastal lands, the location and scale of the project shall be considered from a conservation perspective. Tidelands must be given particularly careful attention. Tidelands and beaches shall be established and maintained as circumstances dictate.

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Section 2. Conserving Biodiversity

Biodiversity, as the foundation of humanity's existence and a necessity for a sound ecosystem must be conserved. It is a basic element which ensures sustainable utilization of biological resources. Every group of each individual species found in every region shall be conserved and the conservation of the entire ecosystem shall be ensured.

To conserve biodiversity at each of the ecosystem level, interspecific level and intraspecific level, a national strategy based on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity shall be promoted. Wildlife habitats and breeding grounds shall be conserved. Simultaneously, proper plant and animal management shall be planned. Measures provided the Section 1 to conserve wildlife habitats and breeding grounds, shall be coordinated with the following comprehensive and systematic measures.

1. Hunting and Trading

The hunting, collecting and/or trading of scarce plants, animals, birds or other wildlife shall be regulated. Projects for increasing conservation of their habitats and breeding grounds shall be promoted.

2. Managing Designated Species

Regarding wildlife, hunting shall be properly managed and healthy populations maintained. For certain designated species such as bears and monkeys the formulation and implementation of management conservation plans shall be promoted.

3. Introducing New Species

Measures shall be examined to control the impact of introducing new species into environments on isolated islands and places of important scientific interest.

4. Environmental Consideration in Projects

So that human activity does not impose irreversible burdens on wild animal and plant life, research and surveys shall be performed when implementing certain projects, tailored to the type and content of the project. Habitats and breeding grounds, which could be adversely affected, shall be given due consideration.

5. Investigative Research

Scientific research on wildlife species and ecosystems shall be promoted in the following manners.

A.
To establish a research system, human resources shall be trained, museums and specialists shall be networked and private participation shall be encouraged.
B.
To encourage research on primitive nature extensive basic facilities, open to all researchers, shall be systematically established.
C.
The establishment of a system to collect, analyze, store and disperse information about biodiversity shall be promoted.

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Section 3. Securing and Utilizing the Blessings of a Sound Environment

1. Various Efforts in Regional Planning

1.1. Ensuring Environmental Amenities

To ensure an abundant natural environment and its amenities the following efforts shall be promoted in response to the various characteristics of regions.

1.1.a. Atmosphere

To ensure a clear, tranquil and refreshing atmosphere ways to maintain excellent air, visibility and light quality shall be studied with the participation of local residents. Voluntary efforts such as increasing the amount of vegetation in regions shall be promoted.

1.1.b. Water

In order to secure high quality water resources with their ecosystems diverse in wildlife, measures shall be examined for the purpose of managing and maintaining rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, coastal waters, tidelands and other water areas. These measures, with the participation of local residents, should take an integrated view of the entire aquatic environment, including water quality, quantity, aquatic life and surrounding vegetation.

1.1.c. Conserving Scenic Integrity

When establishing facilities, efforts should be made to conserve the scenic integrity of the region concerned. Emphasis should be placed on maintaining harmony with the environment.

1.1.d. Conserving Historically Important Areas

Various systems to conserve cultural environmental heritages are being employed and, as another part of the natural environment, historically important environmental areas shall also be conserved.

1.2. Environmental Conservation by Private Organizations

In order to promote private environmental conservation activities, such as National Trusts, volunteer tree planting and cleanup campaigns, measures like tax incentives and tree planting agreements shall be employed. The managing and restoration of nature by commercial enterprises shall be promoted presenting awards.

1.3. Rural and Urban Interaction

To ensure human enjoyment of nature, leisure activities such as spending time in farming, mountain and fishing villages ("green tourism") shall be promoted as part of a cultural exchange between urban and rural areas. Also, forest maintenance by public organizations shall be promoted by means of agreements. Additionally, the cooperation of forest owners and citizens to raise and cultivate new forests shall be promoted.

2. Responsible Utilization of Nature

2.1. Promotion of Responsible Recreational Use of Nature

To promote the responsible recreational use of nature, the following measures shall be promoted.

A.
Information about places where nature can be enjoyed and about how it should be used shall be promoted.
B.
The examination of different ways to experience nature shall be promoted. Likewise, the training and securing of nature guides, the providing of opportunities to observe nature and to gather in nature and the providing of outdoor education shall be promoted.
C.
Appropriate management systems for natural areas, in cooperation with the region concerned and those who use it, including remuneration for especially substantial service shall be developed.
2.2. Natural Hot Springs

For the enjoyment of nature's resources, the appropriate conservation and responsible use of natural hot springs shall be ensured.


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