Environmental Policy

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This report introduces the most recent conditions and effects of the environmental taxes against global warming imposed in foreign nations. Among these, carbon or carbon/energy taxes supposed introducable in Japan were examined with the concrete plans and those effects, presenting 4 taxation plans.
In November, 1993, as a new legal framework appropriate for the environment-conscious era, the Basic Environment Law was established, whose Article 22 provides for the economic instruments. This provision highly evaluates the effects of the economic instruments recommended internationally and provides that;

investigations shall be conducted concerning the effects on environmental protection and the influences on national economy when the economic instruments was executed,
the introduction shall be accompanied with national understanding and cooperation because each measure such as tax, charge and deposit may put some burden on a nation, and
measures for global environmental protection shall be implemented in concert with other nations to gain expected effects.

In addition, the Cabinet decided in December, 1994, the Basic Environment Plan outlining comprehensive and long-term policy concerning environmental protection based on the Basic Environment Law. The plan provides that research and investigation shall be performed to clarify the effects, if the economic instruments was applied in such fields as CO2 emission restraint, counter-pollution measures in cities and residential area or waste control.
At OECD, the key concept of green tax reform was represented and its feasibility is being examined. This concept advocates to reconstruct the present tax system adversely affecting the environment into the environment-conscious system from the view point of environmental protection. It is also an urgent task for Japan to discuss concretely about tax reform including environmental taxes to protect the environment.
As stated before, discussion about economic instruments such as the carbon tax between advocates and prudent group is getting nowhere. Broad examination and discussion involving the industrial world will be needed for both parties to compromise, continuing the study of economic instruments such as the deposit and refund system for the products including hazard material to realize one by one.

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