Environmental Policy

Introduction :Utilization of Economic Instruments in Environmental Policies - Taxes and Charges


The Research Panel on Economic Instruments of the Environment such as Taxation and Charges was established in August 1994 and has met 17 times to research and discuss the economic instruments available in the Basic Environment Law and Basic Environment Plan. In these meetings, the Research Panel has heard opinions from various industries, local public organizations, consumer organizations and non-government organizations; these opinions were later made public. The Research Panel has also taken into consideration the results of a survey, commissioned by the Environment Agency and conducted by a private group, on the public view of economic instruments. Furthermore, in the symposium "Thinking about the Greenhouse Effect -- the Role of Economic Instruments" held in November of 1995, the Research Panel has worked to gain the public understanding regarding the significance and inherent problems of economic instruments through panel discussions with representatives of various interest groups, as well as a keynote speech by officials from the Environment Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as other representatives of the industry. Through such instruments, the Research Panel has also taken into consideration the various research results both in and out of Japan, as well as the actual policies undertaken by other countries.

Based on such findings, the Research Panel has compiled the first report of the Research Panel entitled The Use of Economic Instruments Such as Taxation and Surcharges in Environmental Policies. The first part of the report will discuss the basic principles behind the use of economic instruments, as well as consider the effects and impacts of the use of economic instruments among OECD countries. The latter half of the report will present views on environmental taxes and surcharges -- the most frequently used among the different economic instruments -- similar to the Research Panel's previous presentation How the environment tax should be (April 1994) made by the Environmental Tax Research Panel, the Research Panel's predecessor.

We hope this report will help deepen the understanding of economic instruments and encourage active discussions among related fields on its implementation.

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