Japan's Action Plan for a World-Wide Sound Material-Cycle Society through the 3R Initiative

"Japan's Action Plan to Promote Global Zero-Waste Societies"

April 28, 2005

1.The 3R Initiative

Accompanying population growth and the expansion of socio-economic activities, around the globe the demand for resources has increased, resulting in increases in the volume of waste as well as increasing diversity in the types of waste. Moreover, as globalization of the international community advances, international distribution of goods, products and technologies, including recyclable resources, has become more active, and there has been an increase in the interdependency of the environment and the economy around the globe. In this regard, all humankind now shares the issue of how to realize a sound material-cycle society, in which the environment and the economy are well-integrated, while making collaborative efforts which provide mutual benefits.

Within such a setting, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi proposed the 3R Initiative at the G8 Summit held at Sea Island in 2004, which was endorsed by the G8 leaders. The 3R Initiative will be formally launched at the Ministerial Conference on the 3R Initiative in April 2005 in Tokyo.

2.Japan's efforts towards a sound material-cycle society

Japan, based on its experiences in serious disputes between citizens and the government over severe industrial pollution and waste management, now seeks to create a sound material-cycle society in which there is a simultaneous pursuit of both environmental preservation and economic development. To this end, the Fundamental Law was enacted and the Fundamental Plan to Establish a Sound Material-Cycle Society were formulated, under which a number of concrete measures have been systematically promoted through the collaboration of various stakeholders, in keeping with quantitative targets with a target year of 2010.

3.Japan's Action Plan for a world-wide sound material-cycle society

Japan is in a position to, through dissemination of its own experience and technologies to the world, support capacity building of developing countries and regional/global international cooperation and take a leadership role in international efforts to establish a sound material-cycle society based on the 3Rs even as it strengthens its domestic efforts towards the establishment of such a society.

1) Domestic realization of a zero-waste society and dissemination of this experience to the world

Aiming at realizing a zero-waste society, Japan is committed to reforming its waste treatment/recycling systems into those suitable for a sound material-cycle society and to advancing technological development for the promotion of the 3Rs through the following activities:

- Launch of efforts under which central and local governments jointly and cooperatively advance local plans to realize a sound material-cycle society, establish targets to promote the 3Rs, and advance necessary policies as a package;
- Promotion of the Eco-Town Projects;
- Promotion of the 3Rs through the evaluation and examination of individual recycling laws;
- Strengthening of efforts towards "environmentally sound products" which incorporate the 3Rs beginning with the planning and production stages, and expansion of the market for "environmentally sound products";
- Promotion of reduction of household wastes through introducing collection of waste treatment fees and other measures;
- Enhancement of measures to eliminate the illegal dumping and export of wastes;
- Promotion of 3R-related research and technology development such as the establishment of a separate research category for 3R initiative-related research within the budget for scientific research regarding waste treatment; and
- Promotion of the 3Rs in the industrial sector.

In addition to these policy measures, Japan is committed to disseminate to the world its knowledge regarding its experiences towards a sound material-cycle society.

2) Cooperation with developing countries for promoting zero-waste society

Japan is committed to providing assistance for the promotion of zero-waste societies in developing countries, most notably in the forms of capacity building and technology cooperation as follows;

- In cooperation with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), an international organization, promoting green productivity activities, including the greening of the supply chain in the Asia-Pacific region (Eco Products fair 2005 is to be held in Thailand in autumn 2005, succeeding the one held in Malaysia in 2004);
- Promoting the creation of hubs for establishing sound material-cycle societies through the development of human resources as well as cooperation in the area of the 3Rs;
- Support for the transportation of recycled goods to developing countries through Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects and Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects;
- Mobilizing experts and implementation of training projects through the Green Aid Plan (GAP);
- Support for environmental conservation activities conducted by both domestic and overseas private organizations such as Japan Fund for Global Environment;
- Collection of best practices and pilot projects by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment, which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan as well as by the City of Kitakyushu.

3) Promotion of international cooperation for realizing a world-wide zero-waste societies

a. Implementation of policy measures towards developing zero-waste policies in cooperation with various countries and institutions as follows:

- Organizing the senior official-level meeting for the follow-up to the 3R Initiative to be held in FY2005;
- Promotion of regional efforts for the creation of a sound material-cycle society through meetings at the ministerial level, including the Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (ECO Asia) and the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan and Korea (TEMM);
- Further promotion of 3Rs by strengthening linkages with relevant countries, such as the G8 members, as well as with international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD);
- Further development of research regarding international material flow account (MFA);
- Formulation of the East Asia Sound Material-Cycle Society Vision by 2012, and support for the formulation of the vision/plan towards a sound material-cycle society in the countries of East Asia;
- Securing sound cycling of resources in the East Asian region by enhancing official-level coordination, including through the Asian Network for Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, which was launched in December 2004 under the initiative of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan; and
- Promotion of bilateral policy dialogues and joint research towards the establishment of networks for the sound cycling of resources bilaterally in order to create linkages among countries as well as to enable efficient use of resources within the region and the prevention of environmental pollution.

b. Enhancement of the knowledge base and technology base to realize zero-waste societies in Asia

- Raising the public awareness regarding waste treatment and recycling as well as capacity building through technical cooperation and support for formulating relevant systems;
- Establishment of the Research Network on a Sound Material-Cycle Society in East Asia (tentative name), which, through international information exchange and research, will establish the knowledge base and technology base to facilitate creation of a sound material-cycle society;
- Sharing with governmental institutions in other countries Japan's experiences, knowledge, and technologies relevant to policy making for a sound material-cycle society through training opportunities.

c. Promotion of actions towards zero-waste societies through information sharing and networking

- Joint work with the International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) launched by the Sendai Declaration on Green Purchasing (October 2004) to globally promote purchasing environmentally-sound goods and services;
- Establishment of the "Showcase on 3R Best Practices" (tentative name), a portfolio of 3R-related good practices, through international organizations;
- Support for an inter-city network for sound material-cycle society by making use of the know-how of local governments; and
- Organizing the "Symposium/Seminar to establish a Sound Material-Cycle Society" (tentative name) in Beijing in autumn 2005 as agreed at the TEMM to promote mutual understanding and to enhance actions by central and local governments, business entities and NGOs.

Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan