White Paper

Quality of the Environment in Japan 1993

3-1-2 Postwar Japan's Environmental Policy

  With the advent of the Meiji Restoration, Japan adopted modern production technology under the government's aggressive policy for industrial development. Smoke, soot and offensive odors began to produce damage around factories in the decade commencing in 1877. Around mines and refineries in the mountains, too, damage was caused by wastewater and waste gas. The examples in which significant damage came out in that period were damage by mining and smelting and the questions of the Ashio and Besshi copper mines. A check of responses to those issues indicates that when it comes to the Besshi Copper Mine, farm produce was damaged in its periphery by sulfurous acid gas from the incineration and smelting of copper ores. With this as momentum, there occurred a dispute in which peasants besieged the refinery, and the damage was confirmed in a national investigation. Given those moves, it was decided to move the factories but the damage remained, so a compensation agreement by the good offices of the Prefectural Governor was concluded. In the long run, damage was reduced with the construction of neutralization facilities, but it had taken as many as 46 years from the generation of damage to the final solution. In the case of the Ashio Cooper Mine, downstream fish, shellfish and farm produce were adversely affected by its wastewater and ore leftovers. Though an out-of-court settlement was reached and the government ordered the implementation of measures, the measures were still inadequate and the residents in the afflicted communities are resettled by force. Thus, in the initial phase, individual problems were dealt with without the formulation of a legal framework, though there were incorporated measures for the prevention of environmental pollu tion, as was the case with the Factories Law enacted in 1911. Those responses were made only after a strong appeal by the aggrieved against the occurrence of additional damage. Given this picture, the victims of environmental pollution had no alternative but to yield under protest, directly negotiate with the polluters under the government's guidance or intervention, or file a lawsuit for the compensation of damages.

3-1-3 Post-WWII Economic Development and Environmental Conservation System

  The development of systems for environmental conservation began after World War II, particularly after a phase of high economic growth. While great efforts were being made for Japan's postwar economic rehabilitation, environmental issues cropped up one after another. Given this development, the local governments which had major cities under their wings began to take measures. Tokyo enacted the Decree for the Prevention of Environmental Pollution by Factories in 1949. Osaka Prefecture enacted the Decree for the Prevention of Environmental Pollution by Business Establishments in 1950, followed by Kanagawa Prefecture which enacted the Decree for the Prevention of Environmental Pollution by Business Establishments in 1951. It also became a practice to come out with a decree to cope with individual pollutants, such as smoke, soot and noise. When it comes to Tokyo's Decree for the Prevention of Environmental Pollution, it was designed to cover the noise, vibration, explosion, particulate dust, offensive odor, hazardous gas, steam and waste fluids, among others, generated by factory facilities and work, and a system of prior authorization was instituted for the construction of additional factories. When there was a danger that environmental pollution might occur, the proprietors were obligated to improve facilities, stop using them or put limits on working hours.
  Those decrees are something which may be highly rated as pilot approaches to environmental administration. Nonetheless, they took on the character of an approach peculiar to the advent of a new age, as some of them did not have quantitative control standards and their framework and penal clauses were inadequate, partly because the measures and technology remained immature. Besides, they also revealed that environmental issues in that phase were not taken up as grave nationwide issues, but rather as local ones.
  The White Paper on the Economy in 1955 declared that "the postwar period had come to an end," and with its production level now higher than in the prewar years, Japan was to swing into a phase of high economic growth in the 1955-64 decade. Given those developments, air and water pollution, land subsidence and other sorts of environmental disruption became increasingly serious, and the central government began to study the development of a system for environmental conserva- tion. To cope with air pollution, first, the Law Concerning Controls on the Emission of Smoke and Soot (Smoke and Soot Control Law) was enacted in 1962. When it comes to water pollution, the Law Concerning Water Quality Conservation for Public Waters (Water Conservation Law) and the Law Concerning Controls on Factory Wastewater (Fac- tory Wastewater Control Law)[those two laws are called "two water quality laws"] were enacted as legal responses.
  The Smoke and Soot Control Law was designed to designate areas in need of controls where striking air pollution was already generated or likely to be generated. It called for prior reporting when the prescribed smoke and soot generation facilities were to be installed in the areas and, in situations where the concentration of smoke and soot emitted from smoke and soot generation facilities was in excess of prescribed standards, mandated structural improvements in the smoke and soot generation facilities. A system of mediation for the amicable settlement for disputes over air pollution was also introduced. Under this law, Tokyo, Kawasaki, Osaka, Yokkaichi, Kita-Kyushu and other major industrial cities were made "designated cities." With the imple- mentation of legal measures, there were reductions in the fallout of dust and soot, which was a major issue in those years, but there were no reductions in the output of sulfur oxides and other chemicals. Instead, there appeared signs of further aggravation due to the use of different fuels and the development of heavy and chemical industries, among others. Another big issue was the lack of controls on automotive exhaust gas.
  It is stipulated in the two water quality laws that waters where impacts jeopardize man's health and the conservation of the living environment shall be made "designated areas," and that water quality standards shall be formulated for those areas. Persons who discharge factory wastewater are obligated to file reports on the installation or alteration of specified facilities, and where wastewater does not satisfy water quality standards, an order may be issued for the enforcement of necessary measures. The selection of "designated areas" and the formu lation of water quality standards under the two water quality laws were done for 81 areas from 1962 to 1971.
  The system of environmental measures in the initial phase was designed to regulate individual emission sources without a basic frame- work common to various types of pollution, including air and water pollution. The regulations were created to dear with specific, afflicted areas rather than the affliction itself, so they were unable to fully cope with environment issues which increasingly cropped up across the nation in proportion to industrial development, and tended to become post de facto measures. The Smoke and Soot Control Law was designed to "prevent hazards in terms of public health and harmonize conserva- tion of the living environment with the sound development of industry." The Water Quality Conservation Law aimed at "contributing to the protection of the people's health and the mutual harmony of industries" and with the living environment.

3-1-4 Enactment Basic Law for Environmental Measures and Law for Conservation of Natural Environment

  Whereas the ordinances and laws referred to in 3, above, did not prove adequate, environmental pollution and nature disruption became grave social issues, producing strong calls for comprehensive frame- work for environmental conservation. Here, let us trace the develop- ments which led to the enactment of the Basic Law for Environmental Measures and the Law for Conservation of the Natural Environment.

  (1) Enactment of Basic Law for Environmental Measures

  As we have just seen, institutional approaches were started by the central and local governments to cope with ongoing environmental pollution, but as they were taken in a case-by-case manner, the measures did not prove adequate. Given this development, there were calls to solve environmental problems with systematic and comprehensive administration which would center on preventive measures. There were rising calls for the enactment of a basic law which would formulate a framework for the promotion of comprehensive and integral environ- mental measures, such as clarification of the responsibilities of the central and local governments and those of entrepreneurs.
  Then, the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control was enacted at the 55th session of the Diet in 1967. Moreover, this law was partially amended at the so-called pollution-oriented Diet session in December 1970 in response to subsequent moves for further environmen- tal measures.
  After it had been revised in 1970, the Basic Law for Environmen- tal Measures was designed to "protect the people's health and conserve the living environment." As the purposes of the conventional Smoke and Soot Control Law and the Water Quality Conservation Law and the initial Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control, "harmony with the sound development of industry" and "mutual harmony of industries" in relation to the living environment, there arose various arguments in which the basic posture for the prevention of environmental pollution was categorized as giving priority to industry. But the status of environ- mental policy was clarified in the revised Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control.
  Next, the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control pro- vides for the responsibilities of the entrepreneurs, central and local governments and residents. The obligations of entrepreneurs were taken up, first, and it was stipulated that they cannot conduct their activities without restraint and are obligated to take measures necessary to prevent environment pollution which might arise in their corporate activities.
  As one of the basic measures for the prevention of environmental pollution, environmental quality standards were formulated, first, which serve as administrative targets for the enforcement of a wide variety of measures. With those standards, the notion of stepping up comprehen- sive environmental measures for protection of the people's health and the living environment, with the conditions of the environment them- selves taken up as a target, there was a departure from the conventional approaches in which the individual sources of generation had been controlled. As a means of enforcing measures, a wide variety of measures, including emission controls and regulations on land utiliza- tion and the installation of facilities were implemented. For specific areas a system for the prevention of environmental pollution was introduced to systematically and comprehensively carry out various projects and measures.
  With the enactment and amendment of the Basic Law for Envi- ronmental Pollution Control, the obligations of each entity of society and the measures that have to be put into force are defined, thus making it possible for the first time to build a coordinated system of measures.

  (2) Enactment of Law for Conservation of Natural Environment

  In regard to conservation of the natural environment, problems were posed about nature disruption after the Meiji Restoration. In response, institutions for conservation of the natural environment were developed. Here, let us look at developments which led to the enactment of the Law for Conservation of the Natural Environment and the development of a system for the protection of birds and other animals in that period.
  First, let us examine conditions before World War II. Moderniza- tion in the Meiji and subsequent eras brought about rapid changes in the natural environment. Due to the concentration of population in cities in conjunction with industrial development, the trees left on the com- pounds of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, picturesque sites, his- toric spots, forests at various places and natural beaches were des- troyed.
  In response to calls for forest protection, a system of forest reserves was introduced under the Forest Law in 1987, and a system of reserved forests was established for state-owned primitive natural forests in 1917. The Law for Conservation of Historic Spots, Pictur esque Sites and Natural Monuments was enacted in 1921 for the protec- tion of rare wetlands and some wild birds and animals, such as ptarmi- gans which were rare. In 1931, the National Park Law was enacted to protect magnificent natural scenic spots and work for their proper utilization. The protection of wild birds and other animals dates back to the Regulation for the Protection of Birds and wildlife which came out in a Cabinet decree in 1874 and the Hunting Law in 1985, and the provisions contained in those bylaws featured strict security require- ments in regard to hunting. Later, the law was amended in 1920 to abandon the conventional system of designating birds and wildlife for protection by, instead, designating only those for hunting.
  As World War II had come to an end, the National Park Law was changed into the Natural Park Law in 1957 which incorporated provi- sions for quasi-national and prefectural natural parks in response to a campaign which rapidly became brisk for the designation of national parks. In some aspects, the Natural Park Law featured a strong con- sciousness about local development and the acquisition of hard currency with the presence of Japanese and foreign tourists. With Japan swinging into a phase of high economic growth, the law gradually took on the character of protecting the natural environment against the backdrop of the ongoing development of the national land.
  In regard to the protection of birds and wildlife, on the other hand, the Hunting Law was amended in 1973 to develop into the Law Concerning the Protection of Birds and Wildlife and Hunting, in which the protection of birds and wildlife was clearly defined as a purpose, the establishment of a system of bird and wildlife protection zones was provided for.
  The nature protection-related system we have just seen was designed to deal with diverse elements. The need for comprehensive conservation was not taken into full account and, furthermore, basic ideals and institutional guarantees were wanting in comprehensively adjusting the enforcement of those legal systems. In 1970; Hokkaido took the lead in enacting a decree for nature protection, subsequently followed by many other prefectures. In terms of substance, there were a number of decrees which provided for basic matters for nature protection: the restoration and beautification of roadside spectacles, and a decree which provided for basic matters for nature protection under which basic matters for nature protection were provided for and a licensing or reporting system was adopted for certain acts, among others. For those decrees under which areas were to be specified for controls, there were calls for the development of legal institutions for their adjudication.
  It was against the backdrop of those developments that the Law for Conservation of the Natural Environment was enacted in 1972. It incorporates the basic ideals for conservation of the natural environ- ment, the obligations of the central government and other institutions, and the basic policy for conservation and enforcement, including the designation and conservation of natural environment conservation areas.
  In the preamble, the basic ideal that "conservation of the natural environment shall be appropriately made so that its blessings may broadly be enjoyed by the people and the natural environment may be turned over to the people in the future since the natural environment is indispensable for man's health and cultural life." Next, the law defines the obligations of the central and local governments, entrepreneurs and people. It is stipulated that the central government shall formulate and promote basic and comprehensive measures for a legitimate conserva- tion of the natural environment, that entrepreneurs shall take measures necessary for conservation of the natural environment by modifying their corporate activities, and that the people shall strive for the conser- vation of the natural environment. As it was stipulated that the central government should formulate a basic policy for conservation of the natural environment, the Cabinet approved the Basic Policy for Conser vation of the Natural Environment in 1973. In it, the basic policy direction is outlined for measures to conserve the natural environment for the entire national land, ranging from the wild natural environment to natural areas in good condition, to areas where agriculture and forestry are managed and to urban areas.
  In the Law for Conservation of the Natural Environment, those portions represent basic quasi-legal provisions for conservation of the natural environment. Under those basic ideals, and with the enforce- ment of pertinent ordinances and regulations, attempts were made to promote the sound utilization of nature, centering on controls on acts in specified areas for conservation of the natural environment.

3-1-5 Institutional Developments After Enactment of Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and Law for Conservation of Natural Environment

  After the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control had been enacted in 1967, followed by the enactment of the Law for Conser vation of the Natural Environment in 1972, an environmental conserva tion system was to be developed step by step, on the basis of individual laws. Here, an attempt will be made to sort out major moves under the environmental conservation system which has developed with the two laws as its pillars.

  (1) Replenishment and Strengthening of Controls

  The important thing, first of all, about changes in the framework for controls is that the conventional system of designated areas and waters was superceded, such as by the revision of the Air Pollution Control Law and the enactment of the Water Pollution Prevention Law, and it was decided to exercise controls throughout the nation. With those changes, attempts were made to take measures before the outbreak of environmental problems, instead of ex post facto.
  The division of authority between the local governments and the central government was also clearly defined. The local governments were obligated to enforce measures responsive to the natural and social conditions of given areas, beside taking measures in conformity with the central government's measures. Given this approach, the local govern ments were empowered under the Air Pollution Prevention Law and the Water Pollution Prevention Law to enforce more stringent measures in addition to the across-the-board control standards the central govern ment had formulated for the entire nation. As regards conservation of the natural environment, the designation of prefectural natural parks and prefectural natural environment conservation areas was to be stepped up with decrees on the basis of the provisions contained in the Natural Park Law and the Natural Environment Conservation Law.
  The range of control subjects has also been steadily expanded. With the Air Pollution Prevention Law enacted in 1968, it was decided to determine limits not just for business establishments but for automo- tive exhaust gas as well. When it comes to the Air Pollution Prevention Law and the Water Pollution Prevention Law, facilities subject to controls were defined in administrative ordinances. Those facilities have been increased step by step. A check of facilities subject to controls under the Water Pollution Prevention Law reveals that it has become a practice to include not only facilities in the manufacturing industry but drinking, eating and other establishments as well. In the natural environment conservation sector, too, controls on the ordinary areas of national and quasi-national parks were reinforced, golf links were excluded from the category of corporate facilities for the use of parks, and provisions for controls on the entering of vehicles and horses with the Natural Park Law and the ordinance for its enforcement were revised. The Forest Law was also amended to establish a forest area development licensing system.
  As for control methods, there have been a number of develop- merits, given changes in the pattern of problems. In areas and waters where it was considered difficult to achieve environmental quality standards merely with individual emission standards in light of a con- centration of factories and business establishments and other conditions, a system of areawide total pollutant load controls was introduced. The areawide total pollutant load controls were introduced in the Air Pollution Prevention Law,when it was amended in 1974, and this system was put into effect on sulfur oxides in 24 areas from 1974 to 1976 and on nitrogen oxides in three areas, including Tokyo's special wards, in 1982. The Water Pollution Prevention Law was amended in 1978, and the system started in 1979 for the Bay of Tokyo, the Bay of Ise and the Seto Inland Sea. Controls other than emission controls have also been introduced. Regulations were introduced in forms other than emission controls and the location of factories. The location of new factories is regulated in major urban areas under the Law Concerning Restrictions on Factories, Etc., in the Existing Built-up Urban Areas of the National Capital Region. It is stipulated in the Law Concerning the Prevention of Generation of Particulate Dust from Studded Tires, promulgated and enforced in 1990, that the use of studded tires shall be regulated in the areas designated by the Director-General of the Environment Agency. Under the Special Measures Law Concerning Reductions in the Total Volume of Nitrogen Oxides Emitted by Automobiles in Specified Areas (Automotive COx Law) approved in 1992, it was stipulated that vehicles which do not comply with special emission standards shall not be used in specified areas, including Tokyo and Osaka and their environs.

  (2) Promotion of Systematic Responses

  In attempts to cope with trans-jurisdictional issues, such as measures to cope with nitrogen oxides in major urban areas and issues in which diverse measures are required, as is the case with the water pollution of lakes and reservoirs, various measures will be implemented in a comprehensive manner. The environmental pollution prevention programs based on the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and the areawide total pollutant load control programs, based on the Air Pollution Control Law and the Water Pollution Prevention Law, fall in the category of this planning system. In addition, the Special Mea- sures Law for Conservation of the Water Quality of Lakes and Reser- voirs was enacted in 1984 to introduce a system in which the governors of prefectures would work out programs for conservation of the water quality of lakes and reservoirs. With the revision of the Water Pollution Prevention Program in 1990, a system was introduced whereby the governors of prefectures would designate priority areas for measures to cope with household effluents and the mayors of the related municipal- ities would formulate programs to cope with household effluents. When it comes to the protection of nature, attempts have been made for the replenishment of systematic measures, such as a review of programs for national and other parks based on the protection of nature, begun in 1973, and replenishment of the system of forest programs with an amendment of the Forest Law.

  (3) Promotion of Prevention

  Once environmental pollution or disruption of the natural envi- ronment has occurred, the implementation of measures to cope with it requires much time and money, so that a complete recovery can hardly be anticipated. In this light, it is important to prevent environmental pollution and conserve the natural environment, and measures have been evolved in line with this notion. It is in accord with this concept that the system of designated areas was shifted to nationwide controls under the Air Pollution Prevention Law and the Water Pollution. Prevention Law.
  The assessment of impacts on the environment, or the so-called environmental assessment, is designed to fully survey, project and assess environmental impacts, release the findings to the public and take full environmental conservation measures, when projects are likely to produce significant impacts on the environment. This is an important method for preventing environmental pollution. In Japan, since the Cabinet reached an understanding in 1972 about the Environmental Conservation Measures Associated with Various Public Works Pro- jects, environmental impacts have been assessed in line with the admin- istrative guidance of ministries and agencies and the decrees and stand- ing operating procedures of local governments, among others. In 1984, the Cabinet approved the Enforcement of Environmental Impact Assess- ments to carry out uniform environmental impact assessments on large- scale public projects.
  A system has also been introduced to prevent the production of matter which adversely affects the environment and man's health. In- 1971, the Pesticide Control Law was amended to come out with stan- dards under which to check and see whether the registration of given pesticides may not be authorized in light of their possible reside in farm produce and other products. With the problem of PCBs, the Law Concerning Screening and Control of Chemicals Production, Etc., of Chemicals was enacted in 1973 to start a screening system for new chemicals.

  (4) Enhancement of Entrepreneurs" Notion About Responsibilities

  Before the development of systems associated with the preven tion of environmental pollution and so forth, there was no alternative but to file a lawsuit with a court when environmental-pollution victims were to demand legal damages compensation and measures. In addition to the obligations of entrepreneurs under the Basic Law for Environ- mental Pollution Control, the obligations to prevent pollution have been brought to light through the rulings of those trials.
  For the accused to bear the responsibilities at a civil trial, there must be an act of deliberation or a fault for the actions which have given rise to pollution. This has something to do with what actions entrepre- neurs must take and what responsibilities they have to fulfill so that they may assert there is no fault on their part. Therefore, the responsi- bility of polluters has been made clear thanks to the concept about fault in lawsuits to claim the compensation of damages. In the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Osaka alkali case, the trial of which had lasted from the Meiji era to the Taisho era, it was concluded that now that the company had installed considerable facilities for the prevention of damage, it could not be concluded that there had been faults, and that
  damage had been inflicted on other persons by chance, the company could not be accused of responsibility for damages compensation.(In this trial, however, it was ruled that the company was liable for dam- ages compensation as the court judged that the company had not in- stalled considerable facilities.) With rulings on lawsuits on environmen- tal pollution in the 1955-64 and subsequent periods, on the other hand, the definition of responsibilitie was further developed. Particularly important were the so-called Big Four Environmental Pollution Law- suits, including the trial on Minamata Disease in Kumamoto and the trial on environmental pollution in Yokkaichi (Table 3-1-1). In the trial of Minamata Disease in Kumamoto, for example, it was ruled that "in discharging wastewater to outside their sites, chemical factories are obligated to do the best in surveying and researching with the most sophisticated knowledge and technology at all times whether hazardous matter is mingled in the wastewater and whether fauna, flora and human bodies are affected so as to ascertain the safety, to take a maximum degree of preventive measures, such as an immediate suspen sion of the operation, in situations where the noxiousness has come to light or suspicion is aroused about the safety, and to exercise a high degree of care about the prevention of harm to the lives and health of community residents." As is discernible from this ruling, it was estab- lished through those rulings that entrepreneurs were obligated to exer- cise full care for the prevention of damage.

Table 3-1-1 List of Four Major Lawsuits Over Pollution

Table 3-1-1 List of Four Major Lawsuits Over Pollution

  By means of lawsuits against environmental pollution, the con- cepts about damage compensation and the aforementioned responsibil- ities have been made clear. On the other hand, there were many cases in which it was difficult for the plaintiff to establish relations between the act of deliberation or fault and the damage, and it came to light that the victims would be placed in a disadvantageous position or that the trials would drag on. Given this factor, strong arguments in favor of the concept about the responsibility for damages compensation without a fault, asserting that the responsibility for damages compensation should be fulfilled, irrespective of whether there had been a fault on the part of the person who had inflicted damage in the form of environimental pollution. In response to the arguments, the Air Pollution Prevention Law and the Water Pollution Prevention Law were amended in 1972, stipulating that in situations where hazardous matter affected man's life and health, the responsibility for damages compensation would come into being even when there was no fault on the part of the polluter. Also under the Air Pollution Prevention Law and the Water Pollution Prevention Law, it became a practice to inflict direct penalties on violations of the emission standards. With the Law Concerning Punish- ment of Environmental Pollution Crimes Associated with Man's Health enacted in 1970, it also became a practice to inflict criminal penalties on acts of environmental pollution which would endanger the lives and bodies of people in general. With those measures, the responsibilities of entrepreneurs were made severer.

  (5) Compensation for Health Damage and Institutionalization of Environmental Pollution Prevention Projects

  In Japan, severe health damage has been caused by environmental pollution, as is discernible from Yokkaichi Asthma and Minamata Disease. For relief of such health damage in the early years, there was no institutional choice but to call for damages compensation, such as at civil trials. Through the rulings at the Big 4 Environmental Pollution Trials, there appeared cases in which courts ruled for such damages compensation. On the other hand, it came to be recognized that a prompt solution was difficult due to complexity of the issues, and there subsequently arose calls for administrative relief measures.
  Established as such a system was the Special Measures Law for Relief of Health Damage Associated with Environmental Pollution enacted in 1969. Formulated as an administrative relief system without relevance to civil responsibilities, this system was designed to provide legally accredited patients with medical expenses, medical allowances and care allowances by using as funding sources the dues coming from entrepreneurs and public funds. This law aimed at providing medical expenses and so on as immediate emergency measures on the premise that civil solutions would essentially be worked out when it came to compensation for health damage caused by environmental pollution, but benefits remained limited in scale, not compensating for such things as lost wages.
  Later, at the aforementioned Yokkaichi Environmental Trial, the rulings were made in favor of the plaintiffs, and a judgment came out on methods to recognize the sequence of cause and effect and assess lost earnings, so that the court decision evoked significant repercussions in each segment of society, and high hopes were pinned on the establish- ment of an administrative compensation system.
  Thus, the Environmental Pollution Health Damage Compensa- tion Law was enacted in 1973, and an administrative system for the guarantee of damage compensation was developed on the basis of civil responsibilities, such as the compensation of lost earnings to be paid by the polluters. In this system, methods to accredit victims and share costs are defined for Category I areas, where there is a frequent incidence of diseases for which the consequence of cause and effect between pollut- ants, as is the case with bronchial asthma, and health damage are difficult to differentiate, and Category II areas, where there is a fre- quent incidence of diseases for which the sequence of cause and effect with pollutants is generally known.
  Incidentally, as regards Category I areas, the sanctioning of victims in Category I areas was suspended and institutional revisions were made, such as continuation of compensatory benefits to the already accredited and the implementation of projects for the preven- tion of health damage in 1987 in response to a recommendation in which the Central Environmental Pollution Council ruled it inconceivable that air pollution could not be constituting a primary cause to bronchial asthma and so forth, saying that the continued designation of areas would deviate from the purpose of the system which was based on civil responsibilities. The system was revised in 1988, the Environmental Pollution Health Damage Compensation Law was redesignated as the Law Concerning Compensation for Health Damage by Environmental Pollution, and in accordance with this law, it was decided to step up measures for the prevention of health damage by air pollution in addition to compensation for health damage.
  When it comes to Minamata Disease, even at present, lawsuits are pending over the accredidation of patients and the responsibilities for the occurrence of damage. However, in the areas affected by Minamata Disease, a project of comprehensive measures to cope with Minamata Disease was started for persons who are not accredited as having suffered from Minamata Disease in order to mitigate or elimi- nate health issues in the affected area.
  The cost-sharing system for measures to prevent environmental pollution has also been streamlined. Given the stipulation in the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control that "in a project the central or local government is to carry out for the prevention of environmental pollution arising from their corporate activities, the entrepreneurs shall bear all or part of the cost required for the said project," the Law for Sharing by Entrepreneurs of Costs for Environmental Pollution Preven- tion Projects was enacted in 1970. In public works projects for the prevention of environmental pollution, such as the construction of green buffer zones, dredging projects and topsoil replacement projects as- sociated with the soil pollution of farmland, it became possible under this system to have the persons engaged in causative corporate activities bear the cost, depending on the degree of the violation.
  On the other hand, the concept about costs for the prevention of environmental pollution was internationally expressed when the Organi- zation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) came out with the principles for the sharing of burdens by polluters in 1972. In it, the organization recommended that costs for the prevention of environ- mental pollution be shared by the polluters to encourage the reasonable utilization of scarce environmental resources and avoid distortions in international trade and investment. In Japan, it might be said that controls on various kinds of environmental pollution, compensation for health damage and cost-bearing for environmental pollution prevention projects have been developed in a manner to conform to the OECD principles.

3-1-6 Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and Law for Conservation of Natural Environment-- Achievements and Tasks

  As we have seen, efforts have been made for of institutional measures in response to problems that have cropped up one after another since the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and the Law for Conservation of the Natural Environment were enacted in cognizance of the necessity of developing legal systems in the midst of severe environmental pollution and ongoing nature disruption. As a result, Japan has come to have a system of extremely refined measures, ranging from the prevention to the administrative relief of damage, and developing the enforcement system to a considerable degree. Nonethe- less, those measures were designed to curb acts of the kind which would directly affect the environment. In this context, they were based on the notion of police-like controls, and the obligations each entity of society were confined to specific acts which would severely affect the environ- ment. The difficulty of making responses within such an existing frame- work began to be observed in environmental pollution issues of the urban and residential type, such as pollution by nitrogen oxides in major cities and water pollution by household effluents. Already in the 1975-84 period, although a wide variety of responses have been implemented, there had been little improvement. Moreover, the Law for Compensa tion for Health Damage by Environmental Pollution, in particular, provided for various controls, mainly from a standpoint of protecting the people's health, and did not expressly stipulate that the benefits of the future generation and the trans-boundary or global benefits should be protected. Japan's control and technical methods based on conven- tional systems have become rather sophisticated and ought to be put to effective use, say, in future environmental cooperation in the interna- tional community. Nonetheless, calls continue for further development of the framework as the base for environmental conservation.

3-2 Responsibilities for Spaceship Earth and Searching for Social Framework

  In light of the global expansion of socioeconomic activities in recent years, there have appeared changes in environmental issues and the structure of its causative factors both in physical and chemical terms and in relations with social and economic institutions. Here, an attempt will be made to sort out changes in the nature of issues which can no longer be deact with in the conventional framework of environ- mental conservation. The meanings of those changes will be examined as will strategies to cope with new problems and to develop concepts about new social frameworks.

3-2-1 Changes in Environmental Issues and Causative Factors

  As we have seen in the preceding section, environmental pollution and the disruption of the natural environment have come to the fore due to ever-growing human activities since the Industrial Revolution. In situations where man's activities affecting the environment were rela tively small in scale, solutions were worked out with local measures. Also n cases where environmental pollution was not cumulative and therefore transient, it was thought that it would be possible to restore the same favorable environment as before with the formulation of measures. Attention was focused primarily on environmental loads which might locally bring about direct impacts on man's health and living environment It might be said that conventional environmental measures have been developed generally in line with the aforementioned way of coming to grips with problems.
  With the rising interest in problems on the global environment in recent years, there came out calls for a serious review of that way of thinking. Here, an attempt will be made to sort out the new aspects of environmental issues which cannot be grasped in the conventional way of thinking, taking up global warming and biodiversity as examples.
  Problems on the global environment have come to the surface as it has been recognized that, with a broadening of man's various activ- ities in every conceivable sector, we will strain the Earth's recuperative powers as a whole, if things are left as they are, creating grave crisis both for mankind and the Earth. In fact, the world's population has increased by more than three times from about 1.6 billion at the begin ning of the 20th century to a little more than five billion. The world's gross product is 21 times as much as at the beginning of the 20th century (Table 3-2-1). Beyond the Limits (a report by the club of Rome) released in 1972 turned out to be a fore runner of evolving arguments suggesting a looming crisis for mankind. It was projected in this report that as the world's population, industrialization and the utilization of resources and energy continued to grow in geometric progression, growth on the Earth would come to the limits in the next 100 years, bringing about sudden drops in population and industrial might, should those growth rates remain unchanged. In the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond (a special survey report by the Government of the United States) released in 1980, it was projected that the comprehensive envi- ronmental impacts, which could be projected in the period of 20 years to 2000, might seriously affect population, economic growth, resources and so forth.

Table 3-2-1 World Population, Gross Product and Consumption of Fossil Fuel (1900-86)

Table 3-2-1 World Population, Gross Product and Consumption of Fossil Fuel (1900-86)

Notes:1.L In terms of 1980 U.S. dollars
   2.Values in terms of coal
Source : World Watch Institute, State of the World 1987


  The expression "Spaceship Earth" represents the conditions of humankind which has to manage society while overcoming a wide variety of limits which confront the earth as a whole. In this expression, the Earth's inhabitants are likened to astronauts who must live in a spaceship with no resources and energy supplied from outside and with wastes disposed of inside the spaceship. In trying to express the neces- sity of changing the conception about the way man's activities ought to be, it is argued that the "cowboy's economy" should be changed into the "spaceman's economy." By "cowboy's economy," it means economic activities in which resources are wastefully spent as though there were no restrictions in terms of environment and resource like a cowboy on a limitless expanse. The expression "spaceman's economy" represents an attempt to say that the Earth, like a spaceship, does not have unlimited space for the extraction of resources and the dumping of wastes.
  Here, let us take a look at how the significant issues that led to the recognition of those conditions have changed.

Fig. 3-2-1 Rate of World Carbon Dioxide Emissions (1989)

Fig. 3-2-1 Rate of World Carbon Dioxide Emissions (1989)

  First, the emergence of global warming has led to warnings about such an expansion of human activities, such as we have just discussed, and concern about the way humankind should modify its behavior. In global warming, the effects will be generalized, and the impacts will come out in the future generation, rather than in the present generation. When it comes to the atmosphere, no one is required to pay the eco nomic cost for its utilization. As it goes across national borders, the atmosphere takes on the character of a typically free asset which cannot be owned by anybody nor by any country. As we will see in Fig. 3-2-1, collaborative approaches are required to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, which is looked upon as a significant causative factor for global warming. With air taking on the character of a free asset, the effects of the measures taken by a certain country benefit other coun- tries. Even if there are countries which do not take measures, the benefits of the measures cannot be prevented from reaching them, creating the possibility of free riders. Given this picture, it is necessary for each country to strive for conservation of the Earth as a whole not just its own interests. At the same time, there are calls for the building of a framework for the maintenance of the world's coordinated mea- sures. There is the need for a framework for decision-making with consideration given not just to the impacts of acts on the present life but to those which will affect future generations.
  Global warming is generated by carbon dioxide and so forth accumulating from the past and at present. It is a phenomenon which goes on at a slow pace and in which the original state can hardly be restored even when measures are taken after its outbreak. Given this feature, it is necessary to take preventative measures, and to reinforce scientific findings where uncertainty remains to move towards socio- economic activities which minimize environmental impacts.
  Looked upon as a main causative substance for global warming, carbon dioxide is emitted in conjunction with everyday life and all sorts of corporate activities, including energy consumption. Given this factor, it would be exceedingly difficult to try to reduce carbon dioxide emis- sions with measures designed only to cope with specific activities. In other words, it has become exceedingly difficult to cope with emissions through conventional environmental policy which focus on specific activities which directly impact the environment. Given this situation, there is the need for a comprehensive means to deal with the entire economic community. Such relations between environmental issues and the complex structure of socioeconomic activities may be commonly witnessed in pollution of the urban and residential type, such as nitrogen oxides in major cities, and wastes due to the urban structure and the modes of distribution. Therefore, the building of an economic society with less environmental loads is a common task which is required for the solution of a wide variety of environmental issues.
  Moreover, it must be said that the framework of conventional systems is wholly inadequate to the way of thinking about the handling of issues associated with the welfare of the future generation and all humankind. The framework and responsibility for stepping up interna- tional responses and a system in which economic activities as a whole must be developed into an environmental conservation oriented system.
  Second, the environment that must be protected is getting broader in substance, departing from the sector where man's health and the living environment are directly affected. Let us take a look at such examples in relation to the protection of biodiversity. Ecosystems on the Earth have sustained themselves in a web of diverse organisms, as simple organisms have evolved into complex ones. It is pointed out that the greater the diversity of species, the greater the stability of eco- systems. Rising from those ecosystems, mankind has engaged in activ- ities, given the blessings of diverse ecosystems in various forms. A check of the sector of economically used biological resources alone indicates, according to a report of the World Committee on Environ ment and Development, that half of the prescription medicines which are in use at present originate from wildlife. The commercial value of those medicines in the United States comes to $14 billion a year and the commercial value of both prescription and nonprescription medicines in the entire world exceeds an estimated $40 billion. Moreover, the gene resources of organisms significantly contribute to the improvement of farm produce and the development of industrial products. Nonetheless, those organisms are being depleted at a rapid pace, and according to the report published by the World Resources Institute in 1989, there is concern that more than 5-15% of all species on the Earth might come to extinction from 1990 to 2020 primarily because of the depletion of tropical forests. The tropical forest is a treasure-house of wildlife, and according to the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond, the number of biological species is projected at 3-10 million and about 25% of them inhabit tropical forests. It is surmised that tropical forests have continued to decrease at an annual average rate of 15.4 million hectares (equivalent to about 40% of Japanese territory).
  Nonetheless, the depletion of biological species will have little impact on human activities in a short-term perspective, so that the necessity of their conservation is difficult to recognize with priority usually given to man's assets and the expediency of his life, The blessings that come from biodiversity is of high value in a global perspective, as they are not confined to the given areas but range over the whole world. But in areas where concrete measures have to be taken for their conservation, a problem crops up as the gain does not counter- balance the local sacrifice and effort. For example, there is a growing tendency primarily in developed countries to protect tropical forests in developing countries, but the developing countries which have tropical forests bid defiance of this move, as they argue that any attempt to force them into protecting tropical forests deprives them of their right to national development by means of the exploitation of those forest areas. Biological species cannot be recovered once extinct, so that it is necessary to take conservation measures at an early stage. In order to protect the diversity of biological species, high hopes are pinned on the formulation of methods to work for the conservation of ecosystems and the building of a framework with which to make the formulation possible.
  Under the conventional systems, the taking up of issues impor- tant in long-term and trans-jurisdictional terms, such as biodiversity, efforts to protect biodiversity have not been in line with the potential benefits.
  Third, the solution of environmental issues in developing countries has become globally important, as relations between countries in the world have become closer through economic and other activities. As developing countries are puzzling over a wide variety of problems, it is difficult to make sweeping statements about their condition. However, they are clearly confronted with the disruption and qualitative degenera- tion of natural resources in rural areas, such as the degeneration of forests, farmland and so forth in rural areas, washout of soils, depletion of water resources, ongoing desertification and depletion of wildlife. Primarily in urban areas, the residential environment is being aggravat- ed. Furthermore, rapid industrialization has given rise to environmental pollution and environmental degradation worse than what Japan has experienced.
  Unlike environmental disruption in developed countries, poverty is the major cause of environmental problems in developing countries (Table 3-2-2). For example, the situation is observed where natural resources are depleted by felling forests for the development of farm- land and the collection of fuels and by excessive grazing of cattle. The environment is, in turn, disrupted and people become all the poorer living in an endangered environment. On the other hand, the poor in cities are compelled to live in environmentally strained areas, causing water pollution and waste disposal problems. Developing countries find themselves in a difficult position where they have to work for environ- mental conservation while trying to satisfy people's basic needs.
  On the other hand, there are calls for environmental conservation, protection of biodiversity and guarding against global warming in developing countries, too.
  In developing countries, however, there is an absolute lack of funds, technology, manpower and so forth for the solution of those problems. Legal institutions have yet to be made adequate, so that the support of developed countries is indispensable. Developed countries rely on resources from around the world through trade, and move into developing countries for direct investments and so forth. The issues posed for developing countries are of the same nature as that which affects the world through increasingly interdependent economic work- ings regardless of national borders. In the midst of those developments, there are strong calls for cooperation on environmental problems in developing countries. However, conventional mechanisms have been prepared as responses to domestic issues, and have proved inadequate in dealing with extraterritorial problems.

Table 3-2-2 Balance Sheet of Human Development--Developing Countries

Table 3-2-2 Balance Sheet of Human Development--Developing Countries

Source: U.N. Development Program, Report on Human Development, 1992

3-2-2 Image of Economic Community Desired

  Since the Industrial Revolution, the development of society and rising affluence, as measured by income and gross national product (GNP) have increased. Industrialization has been promoted and the pursuit of profits has led to economic growth. Nevertheless, such social development has undeniably given rise to a wide variety of environmen- tal issues. As we have seen in 1, above, humankind's activities have come to where they test the limits of Earth, and there is a danger that global impact are likely to be irreversible, threatening our very exis- tence. In developing countries, moreover, erosion of the environment which is the base for the economy, is further acelerating poverty, creating a vicious circle of human misery and environmental decline.
  Given this situation, there are moves underway to promote "sus- tainable development." When it comes to "sustainable development," last year's White Paper on Environment detailed the evolution of this notion, and the basic points of view may be summarized as follows.
  Historically, the word "sustainability" arose during arguments about the "sustainability" of the utilization of resources according to theory of the "output maintainable to a maximum degree" and indis- criminately catching fishery resources. Renewable biological resources, such as fish, were discussed on the premise that the net volume of reproduction which was usable, but that if the utilization exceeded that volume, the stock would go down, exhausting the resources. This notion began to be frequently espoused in the 1970s as the guiding principle to prevent human activities from bringing the environment and human beings themselves to a cataclysmic end. The words took firm root in the report Our Common Future, released in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in response to an initiative by Japan at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
  "Sustainable development" is defined in the WCED report as "development to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
  The World Environmental Conservation Strategy announced in 1980 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the UNEP and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) took the lead in broadly making an appeal for the fist time about the notion of "sustainable development." In Caring for the Earth (New World Environmental Conservation Strategy), the revision made in 1991 of the report, nine basic principles are enumerated for a "sustainable society."

  (1) Respect and cherish

 1. Respect and care for the community of life
 2. Improving the quality of human life
 3. Conserving the Earth's vitality and diversity
 4. Keep within the Earth's carrying capacity
 5. Change personal attitudes and practices
 6. Enable communities to care for their own environments
 7. Provide a national framework for integrating development and conservation
 8. Forge a global alliance As we have just seen, studies have been elaborated in various perspectives on conditions necessary to create a social framework for a sustainable society.

3-2-3 Aiming at New Framework for Environmental Conservation

  The debate in international society on recent changes in the conditions of environmental problems and the responses to them should be taken into account in thinking about a new framework of environ- mental conservation which transcends the frameworks of the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and the Natural Environment Conservation Law. Here, an attempt will be made to identify issues which call for a review.
  First, future generations and the world as a whole will have to be taken up as subjects for environmental conservation. Second, it is necessary to include the impacts which might emerge for the first time in future generations. Third, there are calls to clearly. Define different responsibilities while fairly distributing the burden of adjustment within society. Fourth, there is the need for comprehensive measures to move the economy and society towards sustainability with less environmental loads.

  (1) Broadening of Purposes for Environmental Conservation

  The experiences in environmental pollution and the disruption of the natural environment have led to the development of a framework for the prevention of pollution and conservation of the natural environ- mnent. In light of those developments, the purposes for environmental conservation--particularly, those aimed at the prevention of pollution, have been confined to protecting the health of people who are living at present and the conservation of their living environment. Now that man' s various activities have impacted a broader range of elements, it has become necessary to take account of the benefits of the future genera- tion and an enhancement of all mankind's welfare.
  When the benefits of the future generation are taken into account, there are many problems that have to studied, such as methods to compare the benefits of the present generation with those of the future generation, decision-making methods with consideration given to uncertainties about the future and mechanisms for the incorporation of the welfare of future generations into social decision-making. With the welfare of future generations taken fully into account, it may be necessary to conduct new studies and modify, existing policies to reflect this new perspective.

  (2) Making Environmental Conservation Targets Comprehensive

  As legal institutions, environmental measures from the stand- point of protecting man's health and conserving the living environment, as well as regulation of the natural environment, have been carried out. However, since the scale of mankind's present activities threaten to transform the environment of the whole Earth, it is necessary to recog- nize once again that mankind lives in the environment and enjoys its blessings; the realization of which should form the basis conservation of the environment as a whole.
  In order to grasp the environment in such a comprehensive perspective and work for its conservation, there is the need for a framework which makes it possible to take cross-sectional measures which transcend conventional environmental measures and the classifi- cation of natural-environment conservation.

  (3) Society's New Responsibility and Cooperation

  Nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, wastes and so forth are generat- ed from routine socioeconomic activities, and interact with one another in a complicated manner. This means that all persons are responsible for the present environmental problems with all persons equally effect- ed. The obligation of each entity of society is not confined to specific acts with significant impacts on the environment as called for in the conventional environmental measures and the conservation of the natu- ral environment. It is necessary for each entity changes to change its in such a manner as to reduce impacts on the environment, while paying heed to how its activities directly and indirectly affect the environment. Moreover, there are strong calls for not only seeing to it that the environment will not be deteriorated but actively working for environ- mental conservation as well.
  On the other hand, for environmental conservation, it would be difficult to work for improvements in the whole system, if each entity takes actions without relevance to those taken by others. The benefits from environmental conservation accrue to all persons, so that the situation arises where those who have not taken measures turn out to be of more advantage. Having aid that, it is important to assure the appropriate burden-sharing and cooperation of each entity and a social framework whereby such approaches are assured.

  (4) Building of Economic Society Amiable to Environment

  In order to review the present patterns of production and con- sumption and build a sustainable society -- the government, the local governments, the entrepreneurs and the people--must step up voluntary and positive approaches and implant environmental considerations in all sorts of socioeconomic activities. In order to encourage those activities, it would be inadequate to carry out regulatory measures alone, or principal methodologies for the conventional system of environmental legislation, so there are calls for the combination and effective utiliza- tion of diverse methods while taking account of the features and effects.
  For the formation of a sustainable economic society, measures must be incorporated in the various activities made by a wide range of entities, but such responses would be difficult to make in terms of technology and management cost, in contrast to the purely regulatory measures used in the past. There is the need for an efficient implementa- tion of such responses. Thus, it is important to introduce efficient measures with the appropriate use of the vitality of the market economy in addition to regulatory measures. When it comes to things, such as the environment, which take on the character of free assets, full responses Cannot be worked out as long as things are left to the discretion of Private market entities. The market economy, an efficient system though it is for decision-marking in the present generation, does not involve the future generation, and the distribution of resources done here is not necessarily favorable for the future generation. Given this factor, it is important to come out with a framework where decisions may be made while giving life to the vitality and efficiency of the market economy.
  Moreover, it is necessary to implement a wide variety of mea- sures which will form the basis for measures to realize a sustainable economic society.
  There is the need to positively step up environmental education and offer various kinds of information which will serve as references for approaches made by private entities. As the voluntary approaches made by them become all the more important, it is required to come out with measures for promotion of those activities. Given the situation in which the dimension of environmental issues has become broader in terms of time and space, it is necessary to promote basic surveys and researches, such as a structural clarification, and make further efforts for the promotion of relevant science and technology.

  (5) Promotion of International Approaches

  The broadening of human activities has made the Earth smaller in socioeconomic and environmental terms. The situation has come to a point where man, whether he likes it or not, must awaken to the fact that he is a crew member of Spaceship Earth.
  Given this picture, what is required first is the building of an appropriate international framework for cooperation and role-sharing for the environmental conservation of the entire Earth. A wide variety of bilateral and multilateral conventions, among others, have been concluded, but the further enhancement of such a framework is required.
  Next, it is required for each nation to actively involve itself in international cooperation under the banner of international coordina- tion, while taking account of close ties of interdependence between each country's economic society and international society.
  Furthermore, in view of the facts that exchanges with foreign countries on a nongovernmental basis are broadening, to say the least of trade and direct investment, and that high hopes are pinned on non- governmental cooperation (among NGDS), there are calls for the devel- opment of a system in which all sorts of entities, including local govern- ments, entrepreneurs and the people, may step up international coopera- tion.
  The studies that had been accumulated on the aforementioned concept bore fruit in the form of international accords at the Earth Summit in 1992. In the following section, let us see tangible moves around the world coming out of the momentum generated by the Earth Summit.

3-3 Earth Summit's Achievements and Future Implementation

  The United Nations Conference on Environment and Develop- ment (UNCED), or the so-called Earth Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for 14 days from June 3, 1992. It was a conference higher in level and greater in scale than ever before, with the participation of about 180 countries and the heads of state of 100-odd countries. Also with the participation of delegates from many local governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGO), it was a conference which befits the name of "Earth Summit." The Earth Summit was held in accordance with a resolution of the U. N. General Assembly in 1989, and in the subsequent period of three years or so, a wide variety of meetings were held for the preparation, including preparatory meetings held on four occasions to hold in-depth discussions about concrete actions for protec- tion of the global environment. Those discussions made it possible to make up for divergences of opinion between developed and developing countries in the beginning. The divergences had been significant, and agreement was reached on the basis of a spirit of global partnership. Here, let us consider developments which led to the opening of the Earth Summit, discussions in the preparatory phase, achievements of the Earth Summit and future measures to give life to the accomplishments.

3-3-1 Backdrop and Preparatory Phase of Earth Summit

  As we have seen in the preceding section, new concepts are required to realize sustainable development. Those concepts have been discussed in different perspectives and reinforced in the last 20 years to a point where as we see today, concrete frameworks have been formed. Here, let us look back on the process (Table 3-3-1).

Table 3-3-1 Major Activities Since U.N. Conference on Human Environment

Table 3-3-1 Major Activities Since U.N. Conference on Human Environment

Source: Surveyed by the Environment Agency


  (1) U. N. Conference on the Human Environment

  The U. N. Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) was held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972 as the first large- scale international conference on all aspects of environmental issues. The Earth Summit held last year served, among other things, to com- memorate the 20th anniversary of the U. N. Conference on the Human Environment. In industrial democracies in those years, pollution became a grave social issue with rises in the discharge of exhaust gas, waste- water and solid wastes, as the economies rapidly developed and the production scale expanded after World War II. In developed countries, the concept of Spaceship Earth spread and people came to realize that the Earth is interdependent, finite and integral. In the Club of Rome's report (Beyond the Limits) published immediately before the U. N. Conference on the Human Environment, an appeal was made about the unsustainability of growth in geometric progression in light of limits to resources, causing a great shock with the illustration of a model for the destination of economic growth in a finite world. In developing coun- tries, on the other hand, it turned out to be an urgent task to escape from poverty and the aggravation of the environment, which were being accelerated by the increase of population. Against this backdrop, there was a debate on economic development and environmental issues at the U. N. Conference on the Human Environment. Developed countries which stressed that development would give rise to environmental pollution and nature disruption were poignantly pitted against develop- ing countries which asserted that underdevelopment and poverty, among others, constituted the most important issue on the human environment. In the long run, the Declaration on the Human Environ- ment in which environmental problems were defined as a threat to mankind and the Action Program made clear that environmental issues should be internationally addressed. It was decided to establish an institution (later to be designated as the United Nations Environment Program) which would play the role of catalyst for encouraging approaches by each U. N. institution to the environment. The Declara- tion on the Human Environment and the UNEP subsequently played a significant role in a wide variety of ongoing international approaches to environmental protection and the adoption of the Vienna Convention which would form the basis for international approaches, say, to protec- tion of the ozone later. When it comes to the Action Program which has been formulated through great pains, there was no competent follow-up structure, and given a worldwide oil crunch soon after, priority was given to economic recovery and the program was not translated into full action.

  (2) Nairobi Conference (Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council)

  The Nairobi Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1982 in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference. Ten years after the Stockholm Conference, the global recession brought about by the oil crunches was on the wane, but the environment was steadily deteriorating. Adopted at that conference, the Nairobi Declara- tion said: "The intimate and complex interrelationship between environ- ment, development, population and resources has become widely recog- nized. A comprehensive and regionally integrated approach that empha- sizes this interrelationship can lead to environmentally sound and sus- tainable socioeconomic development" and "threats to the environment are aggravated by poverty as well as by wasteful consumption patterns: both can lead people to overexploit their environment." It marked the beginning of an attempt to prepare a common forum on environment and development, which had been debated by developed and developing countries.

  (3) World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED)

  The decision to establish the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), known also as the Brundtland Commission, was made at the Nairobi Conference as proposed by Japan. Attending the Nairobi Conference on behalf of the Japanese Government, Bunbei Hara, Director-General of the Environment Agency, proposed that efforts should be made to form a vision for the global environment of the 21th century and establish a special committee in the United Nations to formulate a strategy for realization of that vision. Later, the commit- tee was established with the approval of member nations under the chairwomanship of Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundtland, who would later become prime minister of Norway. For four years from 1984, the committee worked hard and presented to the U. N. General Assembly its report entitled Our Common Future. Coming out with the concept of "sustainable development" on relations between environment and devel- opment, the committee stressed the need "to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future genera- tions to meet their own needs." The report later became an important guidepost for efforts to conserve the global environment.

  (4) Debate at Preparatory Meetings for Earth Summit

  Today's generally accepted meaning of "sustainable develop- ment" is the notion that relations between environment and develop- ment are indivisible, that development comes into being on the basis of the environment and resources. As developed and developing countries are placed in different conditions, there is the need for different approaches to realization of that concept. First, developed countries must take another look at socioeconomic activities, which feature mass-production, mass consumption and mass disposal to realize a sustainable society with less environmental loads. When it comes to developing countries, on the other hand, it is necessary to raise living standards, curb the population increase rate, severe the vicious cycle of poverty, population rises and environmental disruption and reduce environmental loads. Having said that, it follows that in coping with problems on the global environment, both developed and developing countries must make efforts in conformity with their respective posi- tions.
  Against this backdrop, a resolution came out of the U. N. General Assembly in 1989 for the opening of the Earth Summit to review how member countries and international institutions had grappled with the protection and improvement of the environment, and how economies had been integrated with the environment since the U. N. Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, to assess main environmental issues associated with the economic activities of all countries and to make a proposal for a further reinforcement of the framework of international cooperation. The Earth Summit, as it were, could be described as an opportunity to make up for divergences of opinion in many years of debates, marshal mankind's wisdom for the realization of sustainable development and for all countries to agree on concrete methods.
  For the opening of the Earth Summit, a preparatory meetings were held four times. Held in parallel with this meeting were negotia- tions on the Climate Change Framework Convention and Biodiversity Convention, among others, and international conferences and other meetings. In this process, discussions on the importance of economic growth in developing countries, arguments on responsibilities for environmental issues, sovereignty over development and efforts for sustainable development, such as funding cooperation in working for sustainable development were conducted. (Table 3-3-2).

Table 3-3-2 Outline of Preparatory Process for Earth Summit

Table 3-3-2 Outline of Preparatory Process for Earth Summit

Source:Surveyed by the Environment Agency


  a. Arguments About Responsibilities for Environmental Issues

  Developing countries thought that developed countries, over- zealous for economic development since the Industrial Revolution, had inflicted loads on the environment as they have excessively consumed natural resources and discharged massive quantities of wastes, and argued that the responsibilities for environmental issues, as we see today, rest with none other than developed countries. A case in point is global warming. Developing countries assert that as most of the rises in the concentration carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stem from emis- sions in developing countries, developed countries should assume the responsibilities by themselves, and that it is unreasonable to expect them to curb industrial development and deforestation in developing countries because of global warming. Against the backdrop of such assertions, there lies the notion that the highest priority for developing countries is to depart from poverty in coping with environmental issues. In developing countries, there certainly is a vicious cycle in which they inevitably sacrifice nature for their survival due to population rises and poverty accelerated by the increases, and such a deterioration of the natural environment in turn accelerates poverty. For a departure from this vicious cycle, there is the need for economic development.
  On the other hand, developed countries asserted that problems on the global environment were common to the entire world, and that as nations, be they developed or developing, sustained damage from a deterioration of the global environment, such as warming and the disruption of the ozone layer, they had o work together in grappling with those problems. Against the backdrop of this assertion, there lay the notion that the responsibilities of developed countries were serious, with mass-production and mass consumption. Nevertheless, if develop- ing countries gave priority to economic development and overlooked environmental conservation measures, more than half of the loads on the global environment would concentrate in developing countries in the near future, thus giving rise to a danger that the deterioration of the global environment would go to a point of no return. Aside from arguments about responsibilities, a check of the cost-effectiveness of measures around the world indicates that measures against global warming, for example, will not only step up further reductions in carbon dioxide in developed countries but even in developing countries where the utilization of energy is less efficient and therefore the cost- effectiveness of the measures is favorable. Efforts for cuts in carbon dioxide emissions will lead to cost-effective reductions in carbon diox- ide emissions in a global dimension, so that it is necessary to note that those measures are of significance in developing countries.

  b. Right to Development

  In relation to the arguments we have just seen, the right to development and sovereignty over development were yet another major point at issue. Developing countries asserted that the right to make free use of natural resources in their countries in accordance with their environment and development policy measures should be respected, that all mankind on the Earth is empowered to enjoy appropriate living standards, and they have the right to development. On the other hand, developed countries argued that the integration of development with environment is important, that the right to development is not some- thing which should be preferential to anything else, and that there are situations where development should be curbed by way of environmen- tal regulations. For example, the assertions of developing countries are that tropical forests are important for the conservation of the global environment, as they absorb carbon dioxide and supply oxygen, but it is indispensable for developing countries with tropical forests to fell forests and engage in agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries for their economic development. They cannot forsake development just for the sake of the global environment. In other words, whether invalu- able natural resources should be made priority subjects for environmen- tal conservation or subjects for development depended on the position and condition in which each developing country was placed.

  c. Funding, Etc.

  Though they could fully realize the importance of sustainable development, developing countries themselves could not procure funds which would be additionally required for development with the environ- ment taken into account, (instead of conventional development), so that international cooperation was indispensable. Funding was the single most important issue.
  Developing countries asserted that as the responsibilities poverty and warming the funds required for the solution of those issues take on the character of "compensation." Defining those funds as new and additional, they demanded the establishment of a new international funding mechanism which would reflect the views of developing coun- tries in place of existing funding institutions which would give priority to investors. On the other hand, developed countries argued that the responsibilities for environmental conservation primarily rest with all countries, that funding for environmental conservation is not something developed countries will be obligated to do, and that though the neces- sity of additional funds is recognizable, the effective bilateral and multilateral use of existing funding institutions is important.
  On the question of funding, there had been so wide a divergence of opinion between developed and developing countries that it came to be regarded as a point of dispute which would hold sway over the success or failure of all international accords at the Earth Summit. In the meantime, the Eminent Persons Meeting on Financing the Global Environment and Developmemnt (with former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita as honorary chairman) was held in Tokyo in 1992. At this conference, held in response to a proposal by Maurice Strong, secretary- general of the Earth Summit, political and economic leaders around the world, as men of knowledge and experience but not as government representatives, discussed funding demand, sources, uses and entities for fund management and so forth in a broad dimensions. In the Tokyo Declaration adopted at this conference, the necessity of substantial and additional funds for sustainable development in a global dimension was recognized, but the need for a new funding mechanism was brushed aside. The concept of a "global partnership for sustainable develop- ment" was advocated and the necessity of broadening developed coun- tries' ODA was recommended. As regards fund supply mechanism for development and environment, the effective use of the World Bank and other existing institutions was encouraged. And when it comes to the use of funds, it was pointed out that developing countries should make plans clear and that importance should be attached to the development of expertise. The declaration provided direction for accords between North and South and offered the basis for agreement on the question of funding at the Earth Summit.
  When it comes to technology transfers, developing countries asserted that because technology transfers were required for the solu- tion of problems on the global environment, it was necessary to transfer them (even when it came to privately owned technologies) on conces- sional terms (with the conditions on interest, the repayment term and other matters eased). Meanwhile, developed countries argued that it would be impossible to demand private businesses to transfer technol- ogies and that their development would come to a standstill, and, as such, it was necessary to respect the ownership of intellectual property, fueling a fierce debate.
  As we have just seen, there was a conflict of opinion primarily between developed and developing countries in the preparatory phase for the Earth Summit, as the conditions in which each country was placed were different. For example, when it came to global warming, the United States was opposed to the setting of targets common to developed countries for curbs on carbon dioxide emissions, whereas Japan and EC nations were in favor of it. China and India stuck to the principles of assigning the responsibilities to developed countries, whereas other countries sought prompt measures and attached impor- tance to arguments on the basis of realities.
  Thus, many meetings were held with the participation of many countries in the preparatory phase of the Earth Summit. Each country presented its views and efforts were made to gain, so to speak, the consensus of mankind with the approach of the Earth Summit, including calls for the involvement of many NGOs.

  (4) Japan's Contributions to Success of Earth Summit

  Having once experienced serious pollution in conjunction with its economic development, Japan has made strenuous efforts to overcome it. In attempts to solve problems of the global environment, Japan is striving for environmental conservation and to make effective use of the experiences it has gained in achieving its economic development while overcoming environmental pollution using its technological capability and significant economic power for the realization of sustainable devel- opment in a global dimension. In regard to ODA in the environmental sector, for example, Japan expressed its readiness to strive for its expansion and reinforcement with a view to bringing bilateral and multilateral aid in the environmental sector to ¥300 billion in three years. Having actually offered ¥407.5billion, instead, Japan is making efforts international approaches to problems on the global environment.
  With the approach of the Earth Summit, Japan chaired a working group in diplomatic negotiations on a climate change framework con- vention which was scheduled to be signed at the Earth Summit. It also hosted the Eminent Persons Meeting on Financing the Global Environ- ment and Development in Tokyo to discuss funding, on which the success or failure of the Earth Summit depended. At the second prepara- tory meeting, moreover, Japan proposed a "world forest charter" in attempts to reach agreement on the problems of forests on which there was a divergence of opinion. At the fourth preparatory meeting, it made concrete proposals on a declaration which would become an achieve- ment for the Earth Summit. Thus, Japan made positive contributions to the success of the summit, while playing a leading role.

3-3-2 Achievements of Earth Summit

  At the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 3 to 14, 1992, plenary sessions, the delivery of speeches by government representatives, the meetings of main committees, and the summits of 100-odd countries' leaders and the plenary sessions of delegates of cabinet caliber were held. From Japan, Shozaburo Nakamura, director- general of the Environment Agency, said in a speech he made on behalf of the government that it could be considered possible from what Japan had experienced to make environmental conservation compatible with economic development and Japan would do the utmost for the solution of problems on the global environment. Though Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa could not attend the summit due to unavoidable circum- stances, the text of his speech was distributed as an official document at the venue. In it, the Prime Minister expressed Japan's determination to play an important role in the conservation of the global environment, such as by significantly broadening and reinforcing official development assistance (ODA) with the target set at ¥900 billion to ¥1 trillion. Their speeches were highly rated by participating countries and organizations. On June 13, Japan signed the Climate Change Framework Convention and the Biodiversity Convention, making clear a policy for conservation of the global environment while becoming a party to those conventions with other countries.
  In their speeches, the heads of state expressed a positive stance toward environmental conservation. The American leader expressed a readiness to double bilateral assistance and raise the 1990 level of international environmental aid by 66%. The British leader appealed for a broadening of the funding framework of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) (the framework under the management of the World Bank to supply funds, centered on grants which will contribute to conservation of the global environment), periodic announcements on the way Agenda 21 is implemented and the importance of follow-ups. The leaders of Germany, France, Canada and so forth expressed a policy of raising funds in aid one after another. Acting on behalf of the European Community (EC), Portugal expressed a readiness to offer as promptly as possible new and additional funds for important programs under Agenda 21 to the tune of $400 million. Having said that, each country came out with a positive stance toward funding in aid. Representing G77 (the group of developing countries in the United Nations), the Pakistani leader stressed the difficulty of grappling with environmental issues in developing countries in miserable economic conditions, the right of developing countries to development and the importance of technology transfers under conditions of preferential treatment, the equitable distribution of funds at global and national levels for the extermination of poverty, the responsibilities for population curbs in developing coun- tries and the importance of new and additional funds.
  At the preparatory and plenary sessions of the Earth Summit, increasingly in-depth discussions evolved between developed countries with priority given to environmental conservation with development and poverty taken into serious account. In plain language, the Rio de Janeiro Declaration which would form the principles of action by nations and individuals toward the 21st century, Agenda 21 which would be the action program for implementation of the principles contained in the declaration, and the Statement of Principles on Forests in which an appeal was made for recognition of the importance of all kinds of forests and for the necessity of forest conservation and sustainable management were adopted. Then, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Biodiversity Convention were presented for signing. The main achievements of the summit were as follows.

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