Quality of the Environment in Japan 1995



This annual government report on environmental administration is the first report to be issued since the adoption of the Basic Environ-ment Plan in December 1994.
In this report, therefore, for policies adopted by the government in FY1995, the previous structure of the report was changed to instead describe the situation in line with the format of the Basic Environment Plan. But as the plan was adopted, in the second half of FY1994, the format used in last year's report was retained for policies adopted by the government during FY1994. For the next report, it is intended to follow the structure of the Basic Environment Plan, even for policies adopted by the Government.
In Part I, following the recommendations made by the Group on the Global Environment in the 21st Century (Chairman : Dr. Jiro Kondo), in a report titled "Toward Creation of a New Civilization." submitted to the prime minister in January 1995, an extensive examina-tion of human civilization and the global environment, in terms of the relationship between ancient civilization and the environment and the problems of modern civilization and the future direction to be taken are made in Chapter l.
In Chapter 2, the environmental problems of the Asia-Pacific region are taken up. The regional environment with which Japan has deep relations is surveyed, the current situation ,and future prospects are examined, and discussion is made on the policies that will be required by Japan and the other countries in the region to build a sustainable society. In Chapter 3, the survey on Japan's environment is carried, positioning it as an inventory stock viewed from the future, and cover-ing the current situation through a number of topics that include soil, natural environment in countryside and areas with high human impacts.
Furthermore, in Chapter 4, the importance of future implementa-tion of highly effective environmental policies is underscored, regardless of whether they be from national or lo,cal public entities, or from the private sector. With viewpoints along this line, a number of examples of the state of progress for specific policies are examined. Moreover, following the,se viewpoints, somewhat more details of the Basic Envi-ronment Plan are given. Last of all, in Chapter 5, the latest and basic environmental data that make up the background for Chapters 1-4 are presented. Also in this report, in Section 10 of Chapter 5 the environmen-tal effects of the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake is featured.
Environmental issues attract much interest these days, and many people are promoting engagement in it from their various standpoints. Unfortunately, it is difficult to show that there has been visible improve-ment to urban and daily-life type pollution or to global environmental issues. Moreover, demands for a higher quality life of mingling and coexisting with nature have been increasing. '
Each one of us is now faced with the current environmental situation, 'and with the historic problems and socioeconomic system o,f the modern civilization that has shaped it. Nevertheless, we can, through our own will and action, help a sustainable new global civilization take shape.