White Paper

Quality of the Environment in Japan 1994

  Moreover, while numerous products that are said to be "environrnent friendly" have been marketed in recent years, many consumers have expressed skepticism about whether these products have actual benefits for the environment. In the United States, where the green consumer movement is relatively advanced, several cases have emerged in which trash bags labeled "biodegradable" were not actually biodegradable or in which spray products labeled "ozone safe" actually contained (alternate) fluoron gases that damage the ozone layer. In view of this, aiming to ensure more appropriate labeling and advertising, the U.S.Federal Trade Commission and Environmental Protection Agency prepared guidelines for environment-related advertising in July 1992. These guidelines include standards that products promoted as being biodegradable, recyclable, or having similar environment-related virtues must meet. U.S. companies have also been working to avoid vague wording and to clearly explain the environment-friendly characteristics of their products with labels that use such phrases as "30% of materials used are recyclable plastic" and "exterior box is made from 100 % recycled paper."
  The role of ecolabels created based on objective standards for evaluating the environment friendliness of the products is becoming very important. While it is difficult for consumers themselves to gain an understanding of the environmental burdens resulting from the production, usage, and disposal processes related to a given product, is it expected that ecolabels will make the necessary information accessible. In Japan, an "ecomark" system was instituted under the guidance of the Environment Agency in 1989, and the system was reevaluated and reformed in February 1994 in light of a variety of opinions and other factors. The reformed system requires that products displaying the ecomark clearly conform to two conditions: 1) that the environmental burdens due to production, usage, disposal, and other processes associated with the given product are less than the burdens associated with other products of the same type and 2) that the use of the product makes a substantial contribution to environmental protection. In addition, various other steps were taken to increase the openness and transparency of the system.
  There are many obstacles to household's efforts to engage in environment-friendly behavior. These include the unavailability of environment-friendly products and services and, for example, the lack of convenient recycling systems for the use of households desiring to recycle things. When local supermarkets promote environment-friendly lifestyles and when convenient recycling systems are available, however, it is evident that individuals are effectively encouraged to engage in environment-friendly behavior. This situation clearly suggests that consumers cannot solve environmental protection problems alone but must receive the active cooperation of manufacturers, other companies and governments. Regarding corporate cooperation, Chapter 2 of this white paper will describe the efforts that companies have made to develop, distribute, and market environment-friendly products. In addition, the distribution industry has initiated operations aimed at recovering such items as food trays and empty cans and bottles. The government is promoting the recovery of resources from refuse, and many organizations are helping subsidize collective recovery systems and the operations of companies involved with resource recycling business. According to a survey conducted by the Environment Agency, about 40% of organizations are rendering such support.
  Even when recycling systems and other social systems exist, however, they will not be effective or develop without the support of consumers, businesses, and government bodies. Regarding paper recycling, for example, although considerable progress has been made in the recovery of used paper and large volumes have been collected, the slackness of demand for used paper has caused the supply-demand relationship to deteriorate and the price of this resource to decline. In particular, the price of used magazines has fallen from ¥14 per kilogram to between ¥7 and ¥8 per kilogram during a period of about two years. An important factor behind the slackness of demand for used paper is the tendency of consumers to avoid purchasing products made from used paper because of quality and price considerations. In view of this, many private-sector groups involved in recycling operations have broadened the focus of their activities, supplementing resource recovery systems with efforts to increase demand for recycled products by promoting changes in consumer consciousness and encouraging consumers' active use of recycled products. For example, some organizations promoting the recycling of milk cartons have begun cooperating with papermakers engaged in manufacturing toilet paper and other products from the used cartons, arranging for the organization's mark to be shown on the recycled products' labels to promote their sales. Regarding corporate cooperation, numerous local organizations based in office districts have arranged for the collection of sorted used paper from offices as well as for the production of 100%-recycled toilet paper products and the display of the relevant association's logo on the products' wrappers. For the effective functioning of such social systems as recycling systems, it is important that cooperative relationships among various entities be deepened.
  It is generally recognized that economic benefits will encourage individuals' behavior; many people are averse to uneconomic behavior and economic costs will discourage behavior. In view of this, a variety of programs have been organized with the goal of promoting environment-friendly behavior by making such behavior economically advantageous. In some cases, for example, the consumption of the plastic shopping bags usually distributed free of charge at supermarkets has been decreased by charging for the bags. As will be described in Chapter 3, some regional public entities have succeeded in reducing refuse volume by introducing systems in which refuse collection charges are levied according to refuse volume. Other programs offering economic incentives for environment-friendly behavior include the collection of can deposits by manufacturers of regionally marketed beer products and the systems of some regional public entities, corporate associations, and other groups that provide for cash payments or the distribution of gift certificates for book purchases in return for the supply of empty cans. While voluntary systems for the collection of aluminum cans at major supermarkets have resulted in the collection of about 100 kilograms of cans per month, a system of the Japan Aluminium Association that pays ¥1 per can has boosted the monthly collection volume at some supermarkets to more than a ton.
  The installation of solar systems and thermal insulation is an extremely effective means of reducing the environmental burdens associated with the consumption of fossil fuels, but many households refrain from such installation due to the considerable expenses involved. To support the installation of energy-saving equipment in residences, the Housing Loan Corporation has instituted a system for providing supplemental financing for the construction of housing that incorporates energy-saving thermal insulation, energy-saving heating and airconditioning equipment, solar-cell power generating equipment, solarpowered water heating equipment, and similar equipment. In addition, the Solar Systems Promotion Association has created a low-interest financing program to encourage the installation of residential solar-type systems.
  In the United States, support is being provided for planned efforts to reduce energy consumption. Based on the concept that promoting energy conservation will obviate the need for an additional electric power plant, an energy supply company in Sacramento, California, is implementing a variety of conservation programs, including a program in which households that sign contracts stipulating that they will reduce their power consumption for summer air conditioning are granted electric power rate reductions, a program for the distribution of decicluous trees to be planted around residences to help reduce power consumption during the summer, and a program for the provision of discounts to households desiring to replace their refrigerators and air conditioners with relatively energy efficient models. In 1993, power consumption in the region served by that energy supply company declined about 1%, or roughly 96 million kwh, of which approximately 43 million kwh of the drop was attributable to households.
  In the future, such economic incentive programs are expected to play an important role in promoting the adoption of environmentfriendly lifestyles.

1-3 In Search of Environineut-Friendly Lifestyles

1-3-1 The Significance of Environment-Friendly Lifestyles

  Section 1-2 included reviews of various types of consumer behavior and leisure activities that are intended to have benefits for the environment. Recently, special terminology has come into widespread use throughout the world to describe such behavior and activities, including "environment friendly" in English, umweltfreundlich in German, respectueux de l'environnement in French, and kankyo ni yasashii in Japanese.
  The Japanese version can be directly translated as nice or gentle (yasashii) to (ni) the environment (kankyo). Said to be derived from a verb representing the process of becoming thin (yaseru), the word yasashii describes the kind of consideration for others that is possible only for those who engage in self-examination so intensely that they lose weight. Accordingly, the Japanese-language form of "environment friendly" may be understood to have connotations suggesting that friendliness toward the environment reflects a relatively full appreciation of the considerable influence one's actions have on the environment.
  Most people have not yet engaged in the requisite selfexamination with regard to their relationship with the environment and therefore continue to consume large volumes of resources and dispose of large volumes of waste materials. In the future, however, it will be necessary to increase the degree of yasashi-sa (niceness or gentleness) in peoples' lifestyles and behavior, promote the spreading and sharing of yasashi-sa among the population, and, based on this quality, to create lifestyles that are relatively environment-friendly.
  When considering changes in cultures and lifestyles, it should be remembered that, while the lifestyles prevailing in a given era in a given region generally seem to be in accord with the common sense of people at that time and in that place, lifestyle characteristics in different eras and regions vary greatly. These diverse characteristics have a crucial influence on ways of thinking and basic social conditions.
  An important factor determining trends in lifestyles is the relationship between a given society's social norms, including prescriptive norms, and the consciousness of the population. For example, many European countries have levied taxes on or prohibited the sale of nonreusable bottles, and it appears that such moves were supported by the fact that the populations of those countries were already sufficiently conscious of the need to avoid using products that have a negative impact on the environment. This contrasts with the situation in Japan, where many people do not wish to spend the time or effort needed to help protect the environment and where the use of reusable bottles has been declining.
  Trends in the development and utilization of technology and machinery are also closely related to lifestyle trends. One example of this is the development of technologies for producing vegetables with zero insect damage as well as with unnaturally regular shapes and colors. These technologies have been developed in response to the exaggerated concern of many Japanese consumers with such characteristics. Similarly, the Japanese population's desire for convenient 24hour-a-day shopping has resulted in a high level of vending machine use; there are approximately 2.5 million vending machines in Japan, or about one unit for every 15 households.
  It is clear that lifestyle characteristics are determined, not only by trends in people's consciousnesses, but also by such basic social conditions as the importance of the natural environment in people's lives and the economic rationality of environment-friendly behavior. Accordingly, it is important that due attention be directed to the establishment of the kind of conditions that will form a solid foundation for environment-friendly lifestyles. At this point, the historical relationship between environment-friendly lifestyles and trends in consciousness and social conditions will be considered.

  (1) Lifestyles in the past and in countries other than Japan

  The lifestyles of most people in contemporary Japan cannot be called environment friendly since they entail the large-scale consumption and disposal of materials. Amid the affluence of modern Japanese society, no-environment-friendly lifestyles may seem to be the ubiquitous norm, and there is a tendency to think that environment-friendly culture is an unprecedented phenomenon to be created some time in the future.
  There have been and still are many types of lifestyles that differ significantly from contemporary Japanese lifestyles, however, and many of these indicate that environment-friendly lifestyles are not new or unprecedented. Environment-friendly lifestyles are to be found amid the lifestyles that have been adopted in the past and other lifestyles that have been passed down through regional folk customs and the traditions of various nations.
  As previously mentioned, the Japanese population's current lifestyles and behavior are placing a great burden on the natural environment, potentially threatening the continued existence of mankind, and this would seem to be sufficient cause for once more reexamining the values underlying these lifestyles. The study of other cultures found in human history will support the premise that realizing environmentfriendly lifestyles is not impossible. It will also provide examples of wisdom with proven practical value that remain relevant and useful even today. The following examples give an idea of how our predecessors related to the natural environment.
  The first examples concern the Edo Era in Japan, which illustrates conditions before the process of modernization began in Japan, and some Japanese folk customs that have been passed down to the present day.
  When considering current living standards and conditions, it should be remembered that the resources available to Japan's population throughout the 230 years of its isolation during the Edo Era were limited and that the feudal system of government at that time placed many restrictions on occupational choices and other freedoms. Natural disasters were severe, as is reflected in the saying that poor harvests occurred every 3 years, minor famines every 30 years, and major famines every 50 years. People suffered from the regular occurrence of famines and floods. It is instructive to note how people living in such severe natural and socioeconomic conditions related to the natural environment.
  Since the volume of materials consumed in the Edo Era was less than the current volume, goods were reused whenever possible and recycled or refurbished to enable further use. Many types of businesses were predicated on this practice. For example, the general practice was to repair things when they broke, allowing people to make a living as specialists in the repair of such items as chimneys, locks, abaci, pans and kettles, and crockery. When things could no longer be used, they were often recycled. For example, paper scraps were made into new paper, candle stubs were collected and made into new candles, wood ash and charcoal were used as fertilizer and as materials for filtering and purifying liquor, and metals were collected for recycling and reuse.
  Edo (the former name for Tokyo) was one of the world's major cities, and it appears that one factor behind the thoroughness of its repair and recycling activities was the policy of isolation maintained by the government that created a closed society in which it was basically impossible to bring in resources or send out waste products. Since resources were limited, care was taken to utilize them efficiently, thereby supporting various recycling industries, and people appear to have recycled used goods for the economic benefits to be derived therefrom. As the world today can be seen as a similarly closed system, it's population should be feeling a similar need to exercise the utmost care in the use and reuse of resources.
  What did Edo-Era Japanese do with the waste products generated as a result of day-to-day activities? Night soil was purchased and used to fertilize fields and facilitate food production. A variety of regulations were enforced with the goal of protecting water sources, and wastewater was ultimately sent into the ocean, where it served as a source of nutrition for marine fauna and flora. Thus, it can be said that the by-products of human activities were made available for the use of other components of an interdependent ecosystem (Figure 1-3-1).

Fig. 1-3-1 Conceptual Overview of the Ecosystem of Edo and Early Tokyo

Fig. 1-3-1 Conceptual Overview of the Ecosystem of Edo and Early Tokyo

Source : Yashiro Tamano, Takeshi Shitsuda, and Atsushi Tsuchiya, "Conditions for the Permanent Residency of Abundance (Eiju suru Yutaka-sa no Joken)" ; S. Kumaaru, Ed.,Shumacher's School (Shumahhaa no Gakko)

  In some regions of Japan, the Edo-Era rules governing water usage have been preserved and followed until relatively recently. In certain villages along the shores of Lake Biwa, for example, such traditional customs as those establishing separate times and locations for water drawing and laundry are still observed, and these and various other measures enable local people to pleasantly make use of river water resources. In the past, underwear and diapers would be washed in a basin rather than in the river, and the wash water would be placed in toilets for subsequent use as fertilizer. Water drained from kitchens and bathtubs would be stored in cisterns for later use in irrigating fields, which helped keep water resources clean and also reflected the thoroughness of residents' efforts to make full use of all available fertilizing materials. Disposing of things in rivers and allowing organic sewage to flow into rivers were taboo.
  What about Edo-Era society's relationship with its animal resources? Since the depletion of wild-animal and fish resources would have been a matter of life and death for Edo-Era hunters and fishermen, many rules were created to prescribe methods of preserving and utilizing these natural resources. To prevent the hunting of bears during breeding seasons, for example, the so-called Matagi villages in the mountains of the Tohoku region passed down a custom of prohibiting bear hunting during the winter as well as the hunting of immature bears at any time of the year. Regarding fish resources, in the northern part of Niigata Prefecture, salmon were considered to be a gift of the water god, and a tradition of prohibiting the catching of salmon after the start of the peak spawning season was maintained in some areas. The Ainu people of Hokkaido viewed food resources obtainable from the ocean and rivers as a blessing from the gods that must be shared with bears, foxes, and other animals, and they are said to have had a variety of hunting restrictions to ensure that such resources were not depleted and that sufficient resources were left for the other predators. Throughout Japan, certain forestry resources were specially preserved, sometimes due to regional taboos, belief in tree gods, and provisions for protected forests in the vicinity of temples and shrines. At the beginning of the Meiji Era, Kumagusa Minakata worked to protect such forests, noting that their shrinkage tended to cause erosion, landslides, floods, and wind damage.
  While the natural environment was modified and utilized for the purpose of such production activities as agriculture, appropriate usage methods were devised based on an understanding of the environment's limitations and other characteristics. One example of this is the use of secondary forests, with which the lives of people engaged in agriculture were intimately related. So-called satoyama (village mountains) helped sustain supplies of irrigation water, provided fertilizer for paddy fields derived from weeds growing beneath trees and fallen leaves, and offered fuel in the form of firewood. The inhabitants of a given region all shared in these benefits, and they also shared the responsibility for mowing weeds beneath trees and other types of satoyama-related jobs. To preserve the natural resources of satoyama for the common use of local inhabitants and later generations, various rules governing their use were established, including restrictions on the times of usage, the number of users, and the per capita amounts of materials obtainable. In addition to providing various benefits for local residents, satoyama provided an ecosystem for plants suited for sunny forest floors, animals and birds that fed on those plants, and a wide variety of other animals. Thus, the blessings of satoyama were harmoniously shared by humans and other life forms.
  Efforts were also made to devise agricultural land management methods in line with conditions in the local natural environment. In Okinawa, land erosion tended to result in the flow of red clay into rivers and the ocean, giving rise to concerns about the effects such flows might have on marine life. In the 18th century, the leading Ryukyu agricultural leader Saion, in his book, Agricultural Handbook (Nomucho), noted that the clearing of plants and trees on the slopes of mountain valleys for agricultural development left the mountains denuded of vegetation and led to the erosion of broken soil. Accordingly, he recommended that such clearing be prohibited and that the outflow of soil and other harmful situations be prevented by such methods as the digging of ditches along contour lines with places for water accumulation at short intervals along the ditches.
  In addition, trees were planted nearby bodies of water with the goal of promoting rich fishery resources. Referred to as fish forests (gyutsuki bayashi), these trees cast onto water surfaces shadows, reflections, and nutrients for fish and other marine life and, among other beneficial effects, prevented of soil erosion, thereby helping create suitable habitats for and promote the propagation of fish. Dense forests of white cedar along the coastline of the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture supported rich harvests of abalone, giving rise to a common saying that abalone grow on the end of white cedar limbs. Thus, it is clear that people in the past had a good understanding of the interrelationship of land- and marine-based biospheres and made use of it. Further reflections of this understanding are to be found in the expressions, used up until recently in Okinawa, stating that denuding mountains will lead to a denuding of the ocean and, if the land goes bad, the ocean will go bad. It has long been understood that understanding the mechanisms interrelating various types of natural resources and developing techniques for making use of these mechanisms will ultimately be rewarding.
  People in Edo-Era Japan engaged enthusiastically in seasonal leisure activities that enabled them to come into contact with nature. While Edo was one of the world's largest cities, a calendar of the era with information about flowers listed more than 300 spots in the city that were well-known for the flower viewing opportunities they afforded. The city had about 1,000 temples and shrines with lush forests surrounding them, and the grounds of samurai dwellings often included gardens designed to resemble natural landscapes. In addition, many ordinary householders were enthusiastic gardeners. Thus, residents of Edo made considerable efforts to create greenery about them. In the Tempo Era (1830-1843), the share of Edo's total area covered with vegetation was about 43%, and as the share of greenery in the central district surrounding the castle was about the same, it seems that there was a fairly even distribution of greenery throughout the city. The level of horticultural expertise among the managers and residents of Edo was extremely high, even by world standards of the time, and non-Japanese visiting Japan today are still surprised by it.
  Many of the ways in which Japanese related to the natural environment during the Edo Era and previously have been passed down to the present and are still observed in the form of regional customs.
  Next, the ways in which some of the world's other traditional cultures have related harmoniously with their natural surroundings is examined.
  The slash-and-burn cultivation methods practiced by communities of Southeast Asians who have retained their traditional ways of life are well adapted to the regenerative cycle of the natural environment. In traditional slash-and-burn agriculture, tropical trees are burned and the cleared land is farmed; however, the use of the fields is discontinued before their fertility and ability to regenerate wild foliage diminishes. The people then move about, farming other land, until after the wild foliage has grown for several decades at the first site, at which point they return to the first site, burn its secondary forest and farm it once again.
  Some residents of central Borneo still engage in slash-and-burn agriculture based on a 30-year regenerative cycle. In forested areas used for traditional slash-and-burn agriculture, it is said that virgin forest and regenerating forests are used infrequently, while most of the new fields are created from regenerated forest land (Table 1-3-1). According

Table 1-3-1 Types of land Used by the Keniya People of Indonesia for Slash-and-Burn Agriculture

Table 1-3-1 Types of land Used by the Keniya People of Indonesia for Slash-and-Burn Agriculture

Source : Prepared based on materials in Inoue, Life in Tropical Rainforests (NettaiUrin no Seikatsu)

ly, it can be said that the human agriculture has been conducted in harmony with a natural regenerative cycle that takes place over considerable time. In recent years, however, population growth has led to an increase in slash-and-burn agricultural activities that do not conform with sustainable usage patterns based on a long-term perspective, and this development is one factor behind the the shrinkage of tropical forest area.
  There is also a wealth of folk wisdom related to the management of fishery resources. Among the peoples of the islands of eastern Indonesia, such marine resources as sea slugs and coral reefs have been effectively managed through such methods as the prohibition of fishing during certain periods of time. Another method of managing fishing resources involves the division of the ocean into two different sections and shifting fishing prohibitions from one section to the other each year.
  Among the Inuit of Canada, some Amazonian tribes, and many other groups supported by hunting and gathering activities, animals and plants used for food, along with all other forms of life, are considered to have souls similar to those of people, and care is taken to give due respect to prey. Some Amazonian tribes also believe that excessive hunting and gathering activities will cause those responsible to suffer retribution in the form of disease.
  As can be seen from these examples, people maintaining traditional lifestyles are doing so on the basis of a variety of wisdom and methods related to living in harmony with nature. In some cases, rules are followed with the specific goal of enabling the sustainable utilization of natural resources. In other cases, the lifestyles that developed by chance or with focus on religious or other objectives happened to indicate effective methods of living in sustainable harmony with nature. Regardless of the reason, these people's livelihoods are based on the abundance of nature and rich soil, and their methods for sustainably utilizing the natural resources in their vicinities are also methods of self-preservation that they have learned from experience. Since they anticipate that their descendents will inhabit the same region, it stands to reason that they adopt long-term perspectives with regard to the land. They obtain a superb understanding of the natural ecology of their regions in the course of their daily lives, and this understanding is passed down through the generations in the form of customs, myths, and taboos. This traditional knowledge of ecology includes a broad range of management practices for enabling the effective and sustainable use (stewardship) of forests, grasslands, agricultural land, fisheries, and wild flora and fauna (Figure 1-3-2).

Table 1-3-2 Traditional Methods of Stewardship

Table 1-3-2 Traditional Methods of Stewardship

Source: Worldwatch Institute, State of the World 1993-1994

  Some modern government policies have been designed with an eye to enlisting the capabilities of peoples who are maintaining traditional lifestyles in the management of natural resources. Since 1982, specified forested areas of the Philippines have been managed by the central government's forestry department in cooperation with the cooperative entities of the aboriginal tribes and other people that inhabit the areas. While the specified forest areas are owned by the government, the cooperative entities of local residents and the government's agency overseeing natural resources have entered into cooperative forest use agreements that allow the cooperative entities to borrow the forested regions and handle their overall management, including the right to make use of forestry products. As of 1990, approximately 44,000 hectares of forest were being managed by local groups in accordance with 13 cooperative forest use agreements, and all but two of the local groups included aboriginal tribes. Thus, the agreements are generating important benefits for the aboriginal tribes and other people belonging to the cooperative entities; they recognize the tribes living areas and are also generating important benefits for the government, which is enabled to inexpensively manage and preserve the environment in extensive areas of forest. According to a survey by the U. S.-based East-West Center -which has studied cultural, social, and economic issues in the AsiaPacific region for many years-this type of arrangement for local cooperative entities to handle forest management is not unique to the Philippines, but is also to be found in India and Thailand.
  Having just reviewed a variety of useful and wise practices of our ancestors and peoples maintaining traditional lifestyles, it cannot be denied that these lifestyles are generally less comfortable than modern lifestyles and that it would be impractical to encourage the present-day Japanese population to return to premodern lifestyles. Nonetheless, it should be recognized that several important virtues of traditional lifestyles have been overlooked by those living modern lifestyles, and that these virtues are worthy of additional study and consideration.
  One such traditional virtue is emphasis on gaining a holistic understanding of the natural environment, based on experience and observation. As seen in the examples related to the management of natural resources and agricultural land, we should be adopting more comprehensive perspectives on the environment by recognizing the breadth and complex interactions and cycles of ecosystems that include such diverse elements as humans, other organisms, mountains, rivers, and oceans. Rather than devising a confused jumble of policies, each focused narrowly on mountains, rivers, oceans, or other individual elements of the environment, we should be broadening the scope of policies in light of the comprehensive range of factors related to a given issue. Policies aiming to protect a portion of the marine environment, for example, will be more effective if due consideration is given to protecting the mountains in the relevant watershed. The traditional kind of comprehensive perspective on the entire bundle of phenomena that comprise the environment can help in efforts to address the interlinking factors related to modern environmental issues.
  A second traditional virtue is a focus on coexisting harmoniously with the environment, even as we work to make use of it. Having accumulated abundant knowledge and wisdom related to natural ecosystems based on many years of experience and observation, people have given due consideration to the limited capabilities of natural recycling and cleansing systems and have gone on to devise methods of utilizing the environment in harmony with these systems. As is illustrated by the satoyama system and aboriginal peoples' systems of sustainable slash-and-burn agriculture, people should make an effort to understand the ecological rules of a given region and to obey the rules while participating in the region s natural ecological cycles. If they do that, they can create frameworks for coexisting more harmoniously with the environment-more effectively working to provide the nutrients and other elements and conditions required by the environment and thereby enjoying richer rewards from the environment.
  To enable more people, including future generations, to share in the benefits of the environment, it is important to study and emphasize the following points : coordinating daily activities with natural cycles of the environment over the long term; managing the environment appropriately ; leaving adequate stocks of natural resources to avoid their depletion; adopting an attitude of appreciation with regard to the environment; and taking only what is needed from the environment based on a desire to coexist with it harmoniously.
  It is true that modern society is devising a wide variety of new technologies, many of which have the potential for playing important roles in environmental protection. In the future, however, it can be expected that mankind's technologies alone will prove limited in their ability to preserve the environment and retain the delicate balances upon which natural ecosystems are based. Accordingly, reference to our ancestors' concepts of the natural environment and the world as a whole will doubtless be useful. Research related to these concepts is currently being conducted at the International Japan Cultural Research Center (Kokusai Nippon Bunka Kenkyu Sentaa) and various other research facilities. While the values and decisions of individual people will be the crucial determinants of success in environmental preservation, many benefits can be expected to result from efforts to devise theories and philosophies related to humanity's harmonious coexistence with the environment.
  Rather than simply focusing on people's perceptions of and attitudes toward the environment, however, attention must be given to establishing the social- and lifestyle-related conditions necessary for promoting environmental preservation. In the past, for example, since people's lives were more-directly linked with the environment, it was clear to them that exhausting natural resources or otherwise causing irremediable damage to the environment would have negative effects on themselves and their descendents, and they therefore had easily understood incentives to protect the environment. In other words, our ancestors generally had the necessary information to understand that placing burdens on the environment would have negative effects on themselves or on subsequent generations.
  Currently, however, while people still may have some contact with rivers, the installation of sophisticated water supply systems has lessened people's need to make direct use of river water, thereby weakening the population's perceived relationship with rivers and leading to the gradual oblivion of various water-related taboos. Moreover, as seen in the review of circumstances in the Edo Era, efforts to make the most effective use of natural resources were based not only on an aversion to the waste of resources but also on to the presence of the economic conditions needed to support various types of recycling industries.
  People's perceptions of and attitudes toward the environment are determined by such social- and lifestyle-related conditions as the availability of information on the environmental situation and the presence of economic incentives. Recognizing this, it is clearly important that efforts to deepen the population's concern with environmental issues should include steps to establish such social- and life-style-related conditions.
  The third traditional virtue is to enlist the cooperation of all members of regional communities in environmental preservation programs. Since the natural blessings of a given region work to the benefit of everyone in that region, all the region's population should be aware of their responsibility for helping preserve those blessings.
  In the past, to make it possible to live in a region and depend on that region's natural environment in a sustainable manner, rules in the form of taboos and other customs related to the environment were established, and regional cooperative groups handled such tasks as the management of mountains and the administration of fishing activities. There were two main merits in having such management and administration handled by regional cooperative groups. First, since the groups were based in the region in question, they had the best understanding of the region's ecology and were in the best position to handle the management of that ecology. Second, because the groups were composed of regional residents, they naturally wished to prevent the exhaustion of the region's natural resources and to support the sustainable use of those resources. Moreover, since the management of those resources was handled cooperatively, it had the effect of strengthening ties between people within the cooperative groups. In view of these important benefits, it would seem that some aspects of systems that actively involve regional cooperatives in land and environmental management could be usefully applied in modern society.

Gathering seafood at low tide in the Shinagawa district of Edo Painted by Settan Hasegawa From Collection of Paintings of Famous Edo Locations (Edo Meisho Zukai), edited by Yukio Saito, Yukitaka Saito, and Yukishige Saito

A craftsman repairing Seto crockery From Ichiba Mitani, Collection of Pictures Related to Commerce in Edo (Edo Shobai Zukai)

A merchant dealing in used clothing From Shotei Kitagawa, Sketches of Shotei

A group of people gathered to observe the environment on cross-country skis

The Environment Center of Kumamoto Prefecture (a facility for promoting a better understanding of the environment)

  (2) The rising level of awareness regarding the relationship between people and the environment

  The affluent lifestyles that the Japanese population enjoy today involve the consumption of large volumes of resources and the disposal of large volumes of waste, thereby placing a heavy burden on the environment. The predominance of this type of lifestyle has an strong influence on our perceptions, making it seem as though large-scale consumption and disposal are virtues. This contemporary type of lifestyle is not universal, however, and many cultures predicated on sustainable relationships with the natural environment have existed in the past and still exist in other parts of the world today. Awareness that modern lifestyles entail certain types of relationships between humans and the environment has finally become stronger and is becoming increasingly pervasive in people's lives and in society., This section of the book aims to examine this trend of rising environmental consciousness.
  During the 1960s and early 1970s, industrialized countries sustained rapid economic growth but began encountering increasingly severe problems with localized and regional pollution. Meanwhile, many of the developing countries placed top priority on efforts designed to help them escape from poverty. It was against this background that the the U. N. Conference on the Human Environment was held in 1972 in Stockholm. However, attitudes toward pollution among the industrialized countries, whose economic growth had caused increasingly severe pollution and a struggle to find means of countering the pollution, differed greatly from attitudes toward pollution among developing countries, which were aiming to promote further economic growth and prosperity for the sake of their populations. The conference succeeded in agreeing on the Stockholm Declaration, which laid out a framework for environmental protection action. Subsequently, however, lifestyles and economic behavior entailing large-scale consumption and disposal continued to spread in developed countries, while developing countries continued to place primary emphasis on the economic development needed to escape from poverty, in many cases stating that they were not in a position to give much attention to environmental issues.
  Various events during this period had the effect of increasing general consciousness of issues associated with humanity's relationship with the environment. These included the Club of Rome's publication of The Limits of Growth, in 1972 ; the report of a special survey conducted by the U.S. government entitled The Earth in 2000 A.D., released in 1980 ; and numerous other announcements projecting severe environmental problems. Such announcements, which made clear the restrictions on growth dictated by the limited supplies of natural resources and by other environmental considerations, came as quite a shock to the world. From the latter half of the 1960s, there arose a general perception that continued expansion of human activities would ultimately cause mankind to confront various problems related to the earth's limited ability to renew resources and purify pollutants and that mankind and the world might eventually face a severe environmental crisis. Recognition of environmental limitations subsequently spread steadily among the world's population. These developments also coincided with the start of space exploration, which allowed people to view the earth from a distance. This visual perspective made a strong impression on many people, and this impression supported the spread of recognition that the earth was a limited ecosystem.
  Perceptions of the environment have changed gradually, helped by the emergence of various types of environmental problems. In 1974, for example, American scientists announced that the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases used in such common household products as aerosol dispensers and refrigerators had a destructive effect on the atmosphere' s ozone layer. This announcement reminded many people of the influence of their own lifestyles on the global environment. Moreover, CECs from all countries were shown to damage the earth's ozone layer, negatively affecting the entire world, and the damage was seen to affect both present and future generations of humanity. Thus, the CFC issue encouraged increased recognition that the global environment is an asset that all of countries share and that contemporary society has a responsibility to preserve the environment for future generations.
  Further, it became increasingly obvious that the expansion of human activities was leading to the destruction and deterioration of wildlife habitats and the overexploitation of many forms of wildlife, causing species extinction to proceed at a speed unprecedented in recent history. In addition to a rise in awareness of the decline in wild organisms that represented exploitable resources, the increase in species extinctions encouraged a reappraisal of the value of nonexploitive coexistence and exchange between people and other life forms and growing recognition of the significance of preserving a global habitat in which diverse species are interdependent and organically interlinked. Progress in molecular biology made it clear that humans and other life forms share a common genetic heritage. This has lent scientific support to the position that humans are not necessarily in a superior category distinct from that of other organisms, and it has promoted broader recognition of the fact that all life forms are similar in that they are members of a single global ecosystem.
  Thus, various problems and developments have fostered a better understanding of the limits of the environment, of the responsibility that the present generation has to preserve the environment for future generations, of mankind's role as a member of the global ecosystem, and of other concepts associated with the relationship between mankind and the global environment. Based on this greater understanding, groups within international society have moved to draft new guidelines for the behavior of human society as a whole. Centered on the principal of sustainable development, general agreement has been reached that global society must work amid the limited environment to meet the current generation's needs while giving due attention to preserving the benefits of the environment for future generations. This concept was generally acknowledged in 1987 when the World Committee on Environmental Development (WCED) made public a report entitled Our Common Future. The concept of sustainable development was further elucidated in June 1992 in the action principles announced by the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro.
  Guidelines for realizing sustainable development were devised at the Earth Summit and announced in the form of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Based on this declaration, several other initiatives were taken at the Earth Summit, including Agenda 21, which includes individual action programs for a diverse range of fields and provisions for strengthening the roles played by major corporations, NGOs, and other activist groups. In response to these initiatives, many countries throughout the world began working to realize sustainable development or strengthened their efforts with that objective.
  Reflecting the new, higher level of consciousness regarding the relationship between humanity and the environment, the creation of systems of environmental ethics to provide guidelines and models for people's behavior began. It is believed that the U. S. environmental preservation movement played an important role in the creation of these systems, as a variety of ideas related to nature conservation have been promoted in the United States since the mid-19th century, when the pace of development triggered perceptions that virgin natural land resources were rapidly being lost. At that time, a leading American wildlife ecologist, Aldo Leopold, began a seminal process of forming a code of environmental ethics when he started promoting his system of land ethics, based on experience related to such aspects of nature management as the administration of national parks and the observation of population trends among wild game animals. Recognizing that humans, soil, water, plants, and animals are all members of a cooperative ecosystem, land ethics set forth the idea that humans and other members of the system were dependent on each other for their survival Accordingly, the members of the system were viewed as having a responsibility for the soundness of the ecosystem as a whole. Leopold pointed out that the survival of many types of organisms, even those that offered people no economic benefit through their exploitation, had to be ensured for the sake of the cooperative ecosystem's stability. He proposed that behavior that tended to promote the management, stability, and beauty of the ecosystem be deemed ethical, while behavior contrary to those goals be deemed unethical. Subsequently, the scope of debate on environmental ethics has broadened to include such topics as intergenerational ethics, associated with the current generation's responsibility for guaranteeing future generations' viability, and the relationship between human activities and the limited global ecosystem.
  Consideration of various forms of environmental ethics has also proceeded in Japan. For example, the Environment Agency has organized the Discussion Group on the Environment and Culture, which comprises a broad spectrum of participants, including leading scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences as well as representatives from industry, labor, and citizens groups. Having addressed diverse issues related to the environment and culture, in April 1991 the discussion group issued a report entitled Toward the Creation of Environment-Friendly Culture. This report included three guidelines for realizing environmental ethics : to strive to act in accordance with the natural principles underlying the limits and the subtleties of the environment; to strengthen the ties between the environment and people; and to share the environment among diverse life forms. These guidelines are also incorporated in the three principles of the Basic Environment Law, which is described later in this book.
  Internationally, in October 1991 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced a New Global Environment Preservation Strategy, which proposed a code of environmental ethics designed to promote sustainable lifestyles. This code of ethics includes portions focused on recognizing the cooperative ecosystem that current and future generations of mankind share with other forms of life, respecting basic human rights, respecting other forms of life, taking responsibility for the impact of human activity on nature, and sharing the benefits and costs associated with the use of natural resources. Since codes of environmental ethics are playing an important role in supplementing the considerations of economy and efficiency that have served as the primary bases for environmentrelated decision-making processes in the past, it is expected that such codes will evolve further in the future.

  (3) Toward new standards emerging from shared awareness

  Today, as a result of new awareness regarding the relationship between people and the environment, the attitudes and opinions of industries and private citizens are growing increasingly similar.
  Corporations' consciousness of the relationship between people and the environment has been changing. The BSCD, which includes people active in the economic circles of 27 countries, has summarized the opinions of those economic circles with respect to UNCED in the BSCD Declaration on Sustainable Development. This declaration notes that meeting people's basic needs without damaging the global environment, which supports the existence of all forms of terrestrial life, is the key to ensuring the quality of life enjoyed by present and future generations of mankind. The declaration also states that a new framework for cooperation among governments, corporations, and societies is required.
  In Japan, the Keidanren Global Environment Charter, created in March 1991, expresses a determination to take the steps necessary to ensure that future generations inherit a sound environment that is capable of supporting sustainable development on a global scale. In November 1991, the Keizai Doyukai issued a statement entitled Efforts to Counter Global Warming-What Must Be Done Now for the Sake of Future Generations, in which it recognizes that mankind is but one of many terrestrial life forms dependent on the global environment in many ways and that mankind must therefore behave in a manner that accords with natural regeneration processes. The statement also calls for corporations to transform themselves from organizations focused exclusively on growth to organizations that cooperate closely with consumers in fostering lifestyles that give due consideration to the preservation of the global environment.
  The perspectives of citizens were expressed in a statement issued by the Global Forum, which was held at the same time as the Earth Summit with the participation of 7,946 NGOs from 187 countries. The Global Charter issued by the forum calls for sharing responsibility for the preservation and regeneration of the environment, the wise and fair distribution of resources, the balancing of ecosystems, and the adoption of new socioeconomic values and ethics. The charter also advocates respect for global ecological systems, changes in nonsustainable production and consumption patterns, and increases in the transparency of and citizen participation in government policy-making processes.
  Based on a reconsideration of consumption patterns in industrialized countries, a Dutch-based international NGO has created the environmental space concept. This concept is designed to ensure that the use and consumption of energy, water, and other resources as well as the pollution of the environment are restrained to the degree needed to prevent infringement on the rights of future generations to enjoy the benefits of such resources. In line with the concept's goals, the NGO has calculated suggested per capita limits on such resource use and pollution in specific quantitative terms. For example, if the world has a population of seven billion people in 2010 and terrestrial resources are to be shared equally, then by 2010 annual per capita consumption of aluminum must be reduced to two kilograms, or about 80% less than the present consumption level in the Netherlands, and wood consumption must be reduced to about 35% of the current level in the Netherlands. This type of calculation represents a new way of encouraging the reconsideration of consumption patterns and promoting the repeated use of resources.
  Against the background of these increasingly widespread efforts to encourage new perspectives on the relationship between mankind and the environment, the Japanese government established new environmental preservation standards on November 19, 1993, with the passing of the Basic Environment, Law which was unanimously approved by the 128th session of the national Diet. Japan's environmental preservation standards have evolved amid the history of the domestic environmental protection movement. Prior to the Basic Environment Law, Japan's environmental preservation standards underwent major changes upon the passage of the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control in 1967, and the Nature Conservation Law, in 1972. Adopted during a period when extreme levels of Pollution were being generated and considerable amounts of the natural environment were being destroyed, these two laws provided for the implementation of a variety of measures to prevent pollution and preserve the environment.
  The Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control was designed to support a comprehensive range of pollution countermeasures, thereby promoting public health and preserving the living environment. The law identified seven problems-air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, vibration, land subsidence, soil erosion and pollution, and noxious odors-that were detrimental to the public's health and living environments. The law also defined the responsibilities of enterprises, the national government, regional public entities, and residents for preventing such problems and established a variety of regulations governing emissions and other phenomena.
  The Nature Conservation Law was created based on an understanding that the preservation of the natural environment was crucial in that the natural environment is indispensable to the population's health and cultural development. It dictated that appropriate measures be taken to ensure that citizens are able to widely enjoy the benefits of the natural environment while also providing for similar rights for future generations. Various measures were taken based on these principles and related laws and regulations, including regulations governing behavior in designated areas.
  The countermeasures implemented based on these two laws had considerable beneficial effects, curtailing the severe industrial pollution and large-scale destruction of the natural environment that had been occurring previously.
  Essentially, the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and the Nature Conservation Law were designed with the goal of restraining behavior that had a direct negative influence on the environment. In this sense, the approach taken by the laws was similar to that of a police crackdown. The responsibilities assigned to the various social entities were clearly defined and limited, as were the types of conspicuous damage to the environment that was proscribed. Thus, the primary focus of the laws was on proscribing narrowly defined types of behavior, and, accordingly, the laws did not require that any consideration be given to the environmental impact of behavior that was part of ordinary lifestyles and economic behavior. In addition, the regulations implemented based on the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control were directed principally at maintaining public health and thus did not explicitly address the need to protect the rights of future generations or preserve the global environment outside Japan's borders.
  In the meantime, as described, global environmental problems have emerged that indicate the possibility of serious damage to the global environment-the irreplaceable basis for human existence-and thus have focused attention on the need to preserve this limited basis for human existence so that it can be passed on to future generations. In Japan, economic development has brought about a higher level of material affluence, but has also created economic patterns that entail large-scale production, consumption and disposal activities as well as causing an increasing concentration of the population and economic activities in major metropolitan centers. Amid these trends, little progress has been achieved in overcoming such problems related to cities and population as air pollution in cities and water pollution due to residential sewage. In addition, the growing volume of waste products has caused a corresponding rise in related environmental burdens. Further, while the amount of greenery enjoyed by urban dwellers has declined, many outlying regions, particularly those with depleted populations, have found it difficult to sustain the environmental preservation powers of their agricultural land and forests. In contrast, there has been an increase in the population's desire for contact and ties with nature and for a pleasant and enjoyable environment.
  Thus, to fully address contemporary environmental issues and to ensure that present and future generations can enjoy the benefits of the environment, it became necessary to institute major changes in society as a whole-including social and economic activities and the population' s lifestyle patterns-to realize a sustainable development scenario in which society places few burdens on the environment. Since the regulations and other measures related to the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and the Nature Conservation Law that had formed the basis for the government's environmental policies were insufficient to meet this need, the Basic Law on the Environment was instituted to create a legal framework for promoting the planning and implementation of a comprehensive range of environmental preservation strategies.
  As mentioned previously, the Basic Environment Law incorporates three fundamental environmental preservation objectives, which were created with consideration of changes in popular perceptions of the relationship between people and the environment. These objectives are (1) ensuring the potential for enjoying the benefits of the environment and for passing these benefits down to future generations, (2) creating a society capable of sustainable development that places a minimal burden on the environment, and (3) actively promoting international cooperation aimed at preserving the global environment. The law is also designed to help elucidate the responsibilities for environmental preservation of the national government, regional public entities, corporations, and citizens.
  Based on a recognition of the limits of the environment and of the delicate balances upon which ecosystems depend, the law's first objective gives due attention to the crucial role that a sound and abundant environment plays in supporting healthy and culturally rich human lifestyles. It is also based on concern that an increase in environmental burdens may damage the environment upon which the existence of mankind depends. It therefore dictates that the environment must be carefully preserved so that current and future generations may enjoy a rich environment and the basis for mankind's survival may be sustained.
  The law's second objective, based on recognition that many environmental problems are a result of the daily socioeconomic activities of individual companies and citizens, is designed to ensure that all corporations and citizens share equitably in the task of reducing burdens on the environment and preserving the environment by making active and autonomous efforts to promote the achievement of these goals. In addition to creating a society capable of sustainable development that places minimal burdens on the environment, the objective is aimed at minimizing impediments to environmental preservation.
  With an eye to making use of Japan's capabilities and arranging for the country to play a role commensurate with its position in the international community, the law's third objective prescribes a basic stance of active cooperation with other countries to preserve the global environment.
  The Basic Environment Law contains provisions for the creation of a fundamental environmental plan and diverse governmental policies in line with the aforementioned three objectives. The law expresses a resolve to surpass previous legislation regarding the establishment of new environmental preservation standards that provide for the equitable division of responsibilities and cooperative marshaling of energies necessary to create a society capable of sustainable economic development that places minimal burdens on the environment. The government is currently working to create a fundamental environmental plan that is in line with the basic objectives of the Basic Environment Law and that will enable the realization of these objectives by serving as a framework for subsequent, more-specific measures designed to support these objectives.

1-3-2 Toward the Acceptance and Development of Environment - Friendly Lifestyles

  Supported by changes in people's perceptions of the environment, Japan has instituted the Basic Environment Law on the to create new environmental standards. Changes in popular perceptions and the institution of new regulations are an initial step toward promoting relatively environment-friendly lifestyles. Since lifestyles are strongly influenced by the special socioeconomic conditions characteristic of individual eras and regions, however, it would appear that more attention must be given to such conditions. From examples involving previous cultures, it is clear that cases of sustainable use of the environment were often supported by situations in which daily lives and the environment were integrated to such a degree that individuals clearly understood their interdependent relationship with the environment ; they could perceive the effects of their behavior on the environment and they could perceive the feedback the environment exerted on their own lives. Regarding such situations as the flourishing of recycling industries in the Edo Era, it is clear that economic circumstances played an important role. Accordingly, effectively encouraging the acceptance of environmentfriendly lifestyles may require the establishment of a variety of socioeconomic conditions that make it easy and natural for people to engage in environment-friendly behavior. The following sections of this chapter examine the types of social efforts that are needed.

  (1) Enhancing the population's knowledge aboat the environment

  While there is a clear need to promote a shift from socioeconomic activities that place a large burden on the environment to activities that are more environment friendly, current environmental issues and the relationship between human activities and the environment remain complicated. It would seem that more efforts should be made to gain a better understanding of environmental conditions and their relationship with human behavior. In line with these needs, environmental monitoring and surveying systems must be established to support a more accurate understanding of environmental conditions and their relationship to various socioeconomic activities.
  Further, to provide the clear information on environmental conditions and their relationship to various human activities that people require to make intelligent judgments, more use should be made of environmental indicators. For example, while people cannot directly appraise air pollution situations with their naked eyes, they can understand the situation if the concentration of pollutants is measured and presented to them as an indicator calculated on the basis of comparison with some type of standard criteria. Additionally, announcements of changes in the geographical distribution of fireflies and other specified forms of wildlife can help people grasp how conditions in the natural environments of their regions change over time.
  In addition to the increasing development of indicators designed to facilitate understanding of environment-related measurements, research into methods of creating indicators designed to facilitate an understanding of the relationship between human activities and the environment has progressed in recent years. The OECD is conducting research with the goal of developing indicators that clarify the relationship between economic activities and the environment, aiming to discover and devise indicators reflecting the environmental impact of activities in such principal economic sectors as transportation, energy, and agriculture, so that such indicators can be used as tools in decision making processes related to those economic sectors.
  Environmental indicators make it possible for people to gain a clear understanding of environmental influences and mechanisms not amenable to direct visual observation. They also serve as a foundation for comprehensive evaluation of the relationship between the environment and human activities. Since such indicators effectively communicate information on environmental situations and relevant human activities, they are a crucial basis for decision making. In view of these merits, it is hoped that further progress will be made in developing sophisticated analytical methods for creating environmental indicators and that the range of environmental indicators available will be expanded.
  Besides methods of communicating information on the relationship between humans and the environment, there is a need for more research into the mechanisms of this relationship. In addition to natural scientific disciplines, environment-related research is being conducted by experts in such diverse fields as economics, law, the humanities, and philosophy. The number of university-level courses offered in Japan on subjects related to the environment has been increasing; as of 1992, 101 such courses were offered at 101 national universities and 2 such courses were offered at 2 other public universities. Accordingly, the number of academic research papers on subjects related to the environment has also increased (Figure 1-3-2). While the pursuit of additional research in diverse disciplines is important, the special perspectives on the relationship between people and the environment that are dictated by disciplinary considerations sometimes complicate the achievement of a unified overall understanding of the relationship. Therefore, the establishment of the discipline of environmental science, focused specifically on research required to realize a unified overall understanding, has been promoted in recent years. In addition, growing provisions for funding interdisciplinary research projects have been made in ministerial and agency budgets, and much is expected of such comprehensive and interdisciplinary approaches.

Fig. 1-3-2 Number of Academic Research Reports on Subjects Related to Environmental Issues

Fig. 1-3-2 Number of Academic Research Reports on Subjects Related to Environmental Issues

Source: "JOIS" by Japan Science, Technology and Information Center

  In addition, it is hoped that the development of recycling-related technologies and other technologies useful for environmental protection will be promoted and that the efforts needed to make other technologies more environment-friendly will be exerted. Discussion of these issues has become more active in recent years at such forums as the symposium on future trends in technological progress organized in 1991 by the World Resource Institute and it is expected that such discussion will continue to deepen in the future.

  (2) Promoting Broader-Based Understanding of the Environment and Supporting Environmental Preservation Movements

  In modern lifestyles, direct observation and understanding of the environmental impact of behavior is difficudt. For example, the sewage pollutes distant rivers and oceans, and many other human activities have an impact on distant portions of the environment, while global warming and some other types of environmental impact appear considerably later than the behavior that causes them. The difficulty of observing cause-and-effect relationships tends to reduce people's perceptions of the serious environmental impact of their behavior. In view of this, there is a need to broadly disseminate a wide variety of information on the relationship between human activities and the environment, thereby increasing people's awareness of this relationship and giving them cause to link their behavior more closely with environmental considerations. The Basic Environment Law contains provisions designed to promote the appropriate provision of necessary information related to environmental preservation.
  In addition to this white paper, the Environment Agency has for some time prepared and distributed a variety of pamphlets on subjects related to environmental preservation. In February 1994, in cooperation with the Environmental Information Center of the National Institute for Environmental Studies the agency began distributing a pamphlet entitled Environment Information Guide (Kankyo Joho Gaido), which lists a wide variety of information sources, including private-sector sources. In this and other ways, the agency is preparing environment-related information and distributing it among citizens.
  To supplement systems for transmitting information from the government to the people, the creation of information dissemination systems that provide for citizen participation has been begun. In Fukui Prefecture, a personal computer-based environmental information system called the Midori Net has been created. In addition to allowing citizens access to such environment-related information as guides to various publications and symposiums and the results of air pollution measurements within the prefecture, the Midori Net is structured to enable citizens to input information related to environmental preservation activities. In the future, besides efforts to increase the amount of environmental information available, the government and private citizens must cooperate to create easy-to-use information systems.
  In the past, wisdom and rules about the environment were passed from parents to children to grandchildren. Similarly, to instill the contemporary population with a deep understanding of its relationship with the environment and enable it to conduct its activities with due consideration to the environment, environmental education is crucial. In addition to educating young people about the environment, since the autonomous environmental preservation efforts of each individual member of society are important, there is a need to establish continuing education programs for people of all ages. Regional public entities have begun working to create training centers for educating potential leaders of environmental preservation activities and other bases for promoting such activities, and the Environment Agency is supporting these efforts.
  Environmental preservation groups are also offering citizens opportunities to participate in a diverse range of programs with educational and other objectives. While the activities of such private-sector groups have increased in recent years, however, the Nissay Basic Research Center has conducted a survey that indicates that the financial basis for these groups' activities is weaker than that for other private sector groups, as is reflected in the more than 60% of private-sector environmental preservation groups with annual budgets of less than ¥1 million. Further, almost 80% of such groups operate without paid staff (Figure 1-3-3). Accordingly, the groups can be expected to experience many problems when attempting to expand their activities, and the need for various types of support should be recognized. To provide support for the activities of such groups, the Global Environment Fund (Chikyu Kankyo Kikin) was created within the Environmental Enterprise Association (Kankyo Jigyo-dan) in May 1993. In fiscal 1993, the fund approved 104 grants with a total value of ¥400 million and also rendered various other types of support, such as the provision of information and the education of personnel
  Further, there is a need to create mechanisms enabling the autonomous activities of citizen groups to have an influence on government policies. Efforts were made to incorporate the opinions of a broad cross-section of the population into Japan's national report for the Earth Summit and the national action plan for Agenda 21. Because environmental issues affect all people, more such efforts will be called for in the future.

Fig. 1-3-3 Citizen Group Financial and Staff Resources

Fig. 1-3-3 Citizen Group Financial and Staff Resources

Source: Nissay Basic Research Center, Survey on Support for Citizen Group Activities (1993)

  (3) Reforming economic systems

  Such economic behavior as consumption and investment is greatly affected by the price mechanism and other aspects of the economic system. Since appropriately valuing the environment within Japan's current economic system is difficult and environmental costs are not reflected through the price mechanism, the cost of activities based on due consideration of the environment is often either the same as or higher than that of environmentally inconsiderate activities. This situation sometimes discourages environment-friendly activity. For example, because of regional governments' general practice of funding refuse collection systems with tax revenues, the financial burden on those who make efforts to reduce the volume of their refuse is often the same as that on those who create large volumes of refuse. Similarly, the price of recycled paper products is often higher than that of products made from virgin pulp, and this price differential plays a role in discouraging purchases of recycled paper products.
  Since the price mechanism has a strong influence on contemporary behavior, it would appear to be useful to modify the economic system so some costs can be adjusted upward to reflect the large environmental impact of certain activities and so that other costs can be adjusted downward to reflect the environmental benefits of certain other activities. As discussed in Chapter 3 of this book, one method of achieving such a modification would be to offer incentives for environment-friendly behavior through the distribution of subsidies and to arrange for disincentives for behavior causing large environmental burdens through the imposition of taxes and other fees. Regarding the imposition of taxes and other fees, however, due consideration must be given to such factors as the effectiveness of sucha measures in eliminating obstacles to environmental preservation and the influence such measures would have on the national economy. Accordingly, surveys and research related to such factors must be conducted, and efforts must be made to ensure the understanding of the population when taxes and other fees are deemed necessary. In addition, to ensure the effectiveness of these measures, they must only be undertaken while giving due consideration to international coordination.

  (4) Providing the necessary social systems and social capital

  The desire to engage in environment-friendly behavior is spreading throughout the population, but there remain many types of problems that are beyond the capabilities of individuals to solve. Progress in such activities as recycling requires cooperation between individuals and companies, while progress in such tasks as promoting morning-oriented lifestyles in a society that has become night-oriented requires coordinated efforts on the part of society. Social rules and various types of support are needed to enable such cooperation and coordination. Regarding time orientation, for example, it is interesting to note that clocks are shifted one hour ahead each spring in many Western countries in line with so-called daylight savings systems, which are implemented to make maximum use of daylight. In Japan, the daylight savings time system was implemented from 1958 through 1961, and interest in reintroducing the system has increased recently in line with the goals of reducing electric power consumption and increasing the quality of leisure time. An evaluation of the merits of introducing daylight savings systems is now proceeding as part of a general reevaluation of the population's lifestyles.
  In addition, there is a need for changes in social capital, urban structures, and other components of the socioeconomic infrastructure to support individuals' efforts to behave with due consideration of the environment. The idea of establishing urban ecopolis systems that provide for the revivification of ecological cycles capable of recycling water, materials, and energy is being promoted, and the Environment Agency is supporting the planning efforts of regional public entities aiming to realize this concept. In line with the Ministry of Construction' s policy of creating model urban-environmental (plans/projects) for use in guiding the planning programs of cities, towns, and villages, support for the creation of plans and facilities for model ecocities has been provided since fiscal 1993. The ministry is also working to promote the establishment of residential districts that conserve energy, use natural energy sources, and are otherwise designed with due consideration of global environmental issues through its Environment-Harmonious Residential District Model Enterprise program.
  One type of social capital preparation that helps support transitions to environment-friendly lifestyles is the establishment of railroads and other public transportation systems, which enable people to lead their lives without excessive dependence on automobiles. In view of the potential benefits, the industrialized nations are working to upgrade their public transportation systems in a variety of ways. For example, the German city of Erlangen has worked to increase bicycle ridership by promoting the creation of bicycle paths and the operation of bicycle rental shops. As a result, during the period from 1974 through 1980, the city succeeded in raising the share of its resident's transportation accounted for by bicycles from 14.1% to 25.5% and in reducing the share of automobiles from 40.6% to 34.5%. The German city of Freiburg is promoting the use of public transportation through the issuance of relatively inexpensive Environment Commuter Passes. In the Netherlands, such cities as Amsterdam and Groningen are implementing various environment-friendly transportation policies, including a number aimed at upgrading public transportation systems and promoting the increased use of bicycles. In Japan, policies are being implemented to encourage the extension of train and other rail transportation systems, the improvement of bus service, and the promotion of ideal modal mixtures in regional road transportation through such measures as the introduction of special lanes for buses and bicycles.
  In some ways, Japan lags behind other industrialized countries with regard to the creation of social infrastructure that supports environmental preservation. For example, while the diffusion rate of sewerage systems has risen to about 96% in the United Kingdom (1990) and 86% in Germany (1992), this rate is only 47% in Japan (1992). The amount of per capita park area is 25.6m2 in London and 23.0m2 in New York, but only 2.6m2 in Tokyo's 23 central wards. In view of these gaps and the objective of facilitating rich lifestyles that include contact with the natural environment, there appears to be a need for upgrading Japan's social infrastructure through various measures, including the establishment of sufficient green areas, the promotion of the appropriate use of natural parks through the establishment of walking trails and nature observation facilities, the creation of city parks in major metropolitan areas, and the construction of harbor facilities in harmony with the environment.
  It can be expected that raising social awareness regarding the environment and establishing the necessary socioeconomic conditions will lead to the general adoption and development of environmentfriendly lifestyles. Because environment-friendly lifestyles involve the reappraisal of large-scale consumption and disposal behavior, they may be relatively restricted in some materialistic regards, but they will also provide an occasion for shifting more attention to such important nonmaterialistic aspects of life as the appreciation of nature in each season. The process of establishing such environment-friendly lifestyles can also be expected to provide opportunities for nurturing stronger interpersonal networks linking consumers, communities, and corporations. Thus, there is good cause for creating environment-frien dly lifestyles and working to ensure such lifestyles are passed down to subsequent generations.

Chapter 2. Environmental Protection to Support a Healthy Economic Society

  There have been various debates on the relationship between the economy and the environment and a deep-rooted concern among people that environmental protection measures will have an adverse influence on the economy. Looking back at events that have transpired to the present, the period of a serious worsening of environmental pollution that accompanied Japan's rapid economic growth was generally regarded as a time when environment protection and economic growth were thought to be in conflict. Today, there is an emerging awareness of the importance of establishing an economic society where sustainable development with a small burdon on the environment is possible, thus preserving the environment-the foundation for sustaining human life. Despite this growing awareness, there is debate on such questions as "whether investments in the environment, from both a short-term and microeconomic perspective, will result in increased cost burdens, thereby dampening economic growth" and "with many companies currently suffering deteriorating performances, there are not many companies that feel investments in the environment represent an economic burden." As can be seen from this debate, there is still no clear consensus on the relationship between the environment and the economy.
  In this chapter, we will make a multifaceted examination of the problems arising between the environment and the economy, focusing primarily on the effects of environmental protection measures on longterm economic trends, the relatively short-term influence of environmental protection on the macroeconomy, and the microeconomic effects of environmental protection on individual companies. We would also like to look at recent environmental protection efforts made by industry, which reflect a changing awareness about the relationship between the environment and the economy, and examine various issues for the future.

2-1 Environmental Protection and Economic Activities

  In recent years, people have become increasing conscious of global environmental problems and urban and lifestyle-relate environmental problems, as well as the manner in which economic society carries out its activities, which is the principal cause of these environmental problems. Reflecting this heightened awareness, there has been a fundamental change in people's thinking, namely a shift away from the traditional view that environmental protection and economic growth are conflicting goals, toward the recognition of the need for integration/harmonization between the environment and the economy. In this section, we will examine the chronology of the metamorphosis in thinking about the relationship between the environment and the economy. We will also analyze various influences of environmental investments-which are a vital key to integrating the environment and the economy-on the economy on both a long-term and short-term term basis.

2-1-1 Sustainable development-From opposition to integration/harmonization

  From the 1960s through the 1970s, regional pollution problems, including atmospheric and water pollution, emerged as large problems in developed countries, which recorded robust economic growth, especially in heavy and chemical industries. On the other hand, in developing countries there was an increasingly conspicuous problem of environmental destruction caused by such poverty-related factors as the destruction of forests due to an excessive degree of shifting forest lands to slashand-burn agricultural cultivation. It thus became an urgent task for developing countries to escape the poverty that was exacerbated by their promotion of development. Against this background, at the United Nation's Human Environment Council, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972, there were discussions on the methods for carrying out environmental protection on a planet with limited resources. The most noteworthy conclusion of this council was that environmental problems pose a serious threat to humans, and as a clear-cut international approach to addressing these problems, the council adopted the Human Environment Declaration and the Action Plan. Following the meeting of the council, however, the two oil crises and a global recession prompted the industrialized nations to place top priority on maintaining economic growth. At the same time, developing countries, because of slumping prices for primary goods, which are their principal products, emphasized development as a means of overcoming poverty. Therefore, the United Nation's Action Plan could not be effectively implemented.
  In Japan also, severe industrial pollution that accompanied rapid economic growth became an increasingly serious social problem from last half of the 1960s through the first half of the 19770s. The Japanese government responded to this situation by endeavoring to protect the living environment through such measures as instituting the Basic Law on Environmental Pollution, which clarified the responsibilities of businesses in preventing pollution, and establishing various environmental pollution prevention ordinances. At the corporate level as well, companies, mainly in manufacturing industries, aggressively implemented environmental-protection strategies that included investments in environmental pollution prevention facilities, and the severe industrial pollution problem gradually improved.
  Nevertheless, there was still a strong tendency for public awareness in Japan to be characterized by emphasis on economic growth at the expense of environmental protection. For example, the Basic Law on Environmental Pollution contained the so-called Economic Harmony article that stated, "it is desirable to strive to achieve harmonious balance between protecting the living environment and maintaining healthy economic development." This article was introduced in recognition of the fact that there are many instances where difficult choices must be made between economic development and the actual implementation of environmental pollution countermeasures. This article reflected the prevailing belief in a need for instituting some kind of stipulation regarding the relationship between environmental pollution countermeasures and the ideals of economic development. Underlying this opinion was an awareness, primarily in the industrial sector, that as industries face fierce international competition, there is a limit to the burden that can be borne and therefore any excessive burden should not be unilaterally placed on any one industry that would threaten its existence. In particular, besides taking a prudent approach, the environmental pollution countermeasures implemented should be based on policies that enable a balanced harmony between the healthy development of industry and the preservation of the living environment. Nevertheless this so-called Economic Harmony article was deleted in 1970 because it was often misconstrued as meaning that priority was being given to economic development. There were several public opinion surveys carried out between 1971 and 1973 on the relationship between environmental protection and economic development. A survey in 1973, for examp1e. showed that approximately 10% of the respondents thought priority should be given to economic growth. However, two years later, in 1975. following the first oil crisis, the percentage of respondents that thought priority should be given to economic growth had doubled to around 20% (Figure 2-1-1)

Fig. 2-1-1 The Relationship between Environmental Protection and Economic Development

Fig. 2-1-1 The Relationship between Environmental Protection and Economic Development

Source : Public opinion survey by the Prime Minister's Office

   As can be seen from these conditions, the prevailing view at that time, both internationally and in Japan, was that economic growth and environmental protection were mutually exclusive, with a zero-sum relationship based on mutual trade offs.

Page top