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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN JAPAN

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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In June 1996, the Japan Council for Sustainable Development was established. The Council, consisting of representatives from the government, industry and NGOs, aims at facilitating dialogue among the members concerning the issues of sustainable development. As an advisory body to the Government, it is mandated to follow up on the progress of measures taken under the Plan every year. The Council undertook the first review in June 1996, and identified areas which require further improvement. In the area of global warming, it called for further effective measures to meet the targets set. In the field of waste management and recycling, activities of the line ministries and other entities should be effectively linked with a socio-economic system. And, concerning nature conservation, comprehensive and programmatic measures are necessary taking also into account endowments of the nearby natural environment.

Regarding disputes concerning pollution, the Pollution Coordination Committee conducts mediation, arbitration, and intervention, and also rules on such matters, based on the Law Concerning the Settlement of Pollution Disputes. Based on the Law concerning Compensation and Prevention of Pollution-related Health Damage, Japan takes necessary measures including compensation for damage related to injury to human health, relating to such cases as Minamata disease and asthma.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In the areas of institutional and legal framework, in November 1993 Japan enacted the Basic Environment Law, which serves as a basis for Japan's environmental policy. The law articulates basic principles of environmental policies, which are: (1) enjoyment and succession of environmental blessings; (2) creation of a sustainable society which imposes less burden on the environment; and (3) international cooperation for the conservation of the global environment.

The law also provides for the roles of the national and local governments, and those of the private sector and citizens.

Environmental impact assessments on projects have been carried out in accordance with individual laws, administrative guidance, local authorities' ordinances, and guidelines since 1972 when the Cabinet approved "On the Environmental Conservation Measures Relating to Public Works." Furthermore, in 1984 the Cabinet approved "On the Implementation of Environment Impact Assessment" and thereby established the "General Guidelines for the Implementation of Environment Impact Assessment."

In addition to establishing environmental quality standards regarding air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, and noise, Japan has devised measures, including regulations for the discharge of substances which cause environmental pollution as well as regulations on land-use for the sake of conserving the natural environment, based on individual laws such as the Air Pollution Control Law, the Water Pollution Control Law and the Nature Conservation Law.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Japan's efforts toward the implementation of Agenda 21, as outlined below, are principally based on two action plans, namely, the National Agenda 21 Action Plan and the Basic Environment Plan, which were formulated in 1993 and 1994 respectively. Japan has been promoting and will further develop various measures in accordance with the provisions of these plans.

The National Agenda 21 Action Plan was completed in December 1993. The Plan lists various policy measures which need to be taken, consistent with the programme areas as provided in Agenda 21.

In accordance with the provisions of the Basic Environment Law, the Basic Environment Plan was formulated and adopted by the Cabinet in December 1994. The plan prescribes four long-term objectives, namely, environmentally-sound material cycle, harmonious coexistence, public participation, and international activities, with a view to: (1) building a socio-economic system fostering environmentally-sound material cycles, where environmental load from human activities is minimized; (2) securing a harmonious coexistence between humankind and diverse wildlife and the natural environment; (3) ensuring participation of all the members of society in environmental conservation activities; and (4) enhancing international activities. The Plan also identifies outlines of the policies, the roles of each entity of the society, and the use of various policy instruments to achieve the objectives.

In June 1995, the Cabinet adopted the Action Plan for Greening Government Operations. The Plan requires the greening of Government operations, by such means as use of recycled paper or energy-saving equipment, introduction of lower-emission vehicles, and reduction of CO2 emissions.

To promote environmentally sound land use, Japan has successively formulated the National Land Use Plans (National Plans). As the basic policy for economic management, the "Social and Economic Plan for Structural Reforms - Towards a Vital Economy and Secure Life" which contains various measures for the resolution of global environmental problems, was prepared. Considerations have been given to the environment in such areas as regional development, based on the provisions in Article 17 of the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control (1967), and Article 5 of the Nature Conservation Law (1972). Article 19 of the Basic Environmental Law (1993) states that the State shall consider environmental conservation when formulating and implementing measures which may influence the environment.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

 

National Decision-Making Structure

1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: YES
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: YES
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD: YES
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: YES
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: YES
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: YES

National Instruments and Programmes

1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula: NO
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program: IN PROCESS
3. Ecolabel Regulations: IN PROCESS
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs: YES
5. Green Accounting Program: IN PROCESS
6. Access to Internet: YES
7. Access to World Wide Web: YES
8. A national World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Dev. or State of the Environment: YES
Address: http://www.eic.or.jp/eanet/

Policies, Programmes, and Legislation

Does your country have either a policy, programme, and/or legislation consistent with Agenda 21 in:  
1. Combatting poverty: NO
2. Changing consumption and production patterns: YES
3. Atmosphere: YES
4. Land Use Planning: YES
5. Forest and Deforestation: YES
6. Desertification and Drought: NO
7. Sustainable Mountain Development: YES
8. Sustainable Agriculture: YES
9. Biological Diversity: YES
10. Biotechnology: YES
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: YES
12. Freshwater Management: YES
13. Toxic Chemicals: YES
14. Hazardous Wastes: YES
15. Solid Wastes: YES
16. Radioactive Wastes: YES
17. Energy: YES
18. Transport: YES
19. Sustainable Tourism: NO

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

In the area of acid deposition, the Environment Agency of Japan has proposed the creation of an Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia, in order to prevent environmental impacts of acid deposition in the area, and has organized three expert meetings since 1993.

In October 1995, the National Strategy on Biological Diversity was adopted. The Strategy identifies basic principles and policy directions, aiming at the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity in a comprehensive manner.

Japan will continue to promote the development and improvement of an indicator system in which environmental factors are appropriately evaluated, and to coordinate this work with the indicators of sustainable development developed under the auspices of the Commission on Sustainable Development.  Japan has developed a System of National Accounts (SNA) that includes the Satellite System for Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA), drawing upon the standards contained in the SNA Handbook on Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting of the United Nations. Particular importance is being given to quantitative and qualitative changes in Japan's forest and agricultural resources in this regard.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th, 6th and 7th Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998.

For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:
To access the Environment Agency of the Goverment of Japan, click here.
Click here for Japan's Basic Environmental Law.
For Japan's Environment Plan, in English, click here.
For Japan's National Plan of Action for Agenda 21, click here.

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Based on the New National Plan of Action Towards the Year 2000 (formulated in 1987 and revised in 1991), intended to integrate the "Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women to the year 2000" into domestic policy, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

From 1992 to 1994, the proportion of women in government increased from 0.7% to 0.9%. The proportion in women in Parliament increased from 6.5% in 1992 to 7.6% in 1996, and at the local government level it increased from 2.1% to 2.6%. Curricula and educational material already promote gender relevant knowledge. Policies and strategies are being drawn up for achievement of equality in all aspects of society. Mechanisms are in place to assess implementation and impact of development and environment policies and programmes on women.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

 

For information on Women in Japan's National Agenda 21, click here.
For information on Women Watch in different countries, click here:
For information on national plans of action in the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, click here:

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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

The goal set in Agenda 21 of ensuring that by year 2000 more than 50% of youth -- gender balanced -- have access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training has been reached.

The implementation of the following activities is important:

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For information on children and youth in Japan's National Agenda 21, click here.

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INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

Japan has been contributing to the United Nations Voluntary Fund concerning Indigenous Populations in order to promote the protection of the human rights of indigenous people in the world and to conserve their living environment.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For information on Indigenous People in Japan's National Agenda 21, click here.

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NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Japan Council for Sustainable Development was established in 1996 to facilitate mutual dialogue between the government, the business sector, and NGOs.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

NGO inputs are on an ad hoc basis and mechanisms exist already to:

Challenges

Due to the lack of financing, human resources and information, NGOs' activities are rather limited. In order to change the present situation, comprehensive assistance should be provided to NGOs.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

In 1996, the Global Environment Information Centre was established jointly by the Environment Agency and United Nations University. It aims to provide information and opportunity for exchange to private organizations and NGOs.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

In 1993, the Japan Fund for Global Environment was established, supported by contributions from the Government as well as the private sectors. Japan extends assistance through this fund to NGOs' activities for global environmental conservation in developing countries as well as in Japan.

Cooperation

Japan attaches importance to providing assistance for activities in developing countries, through the Subsidy System for NGO projects, small-scale grants assistance, the Voluntary Deposit for International Aid System, and the NGOs International Construction Development Assistance Program. In addition, based on regional environmental protection funds established by prefectural governments, Japan will continue to provide assistance for environmental conservation activities at the grass-roots level in different regions in Japan.

 

 

* * *


This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For information on non-governmental organizations in Japan's Agenda 21, click here.

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

Status 

The Government supports Local Agenda 21 initiatives, and there are at least 28 Lcal Agenda 21s out of a total of 47 prefectures and 12 designated metropolitan cities involving about 73% of the population. The Government provides assistance to the local authorities for their own voluntary and independent environmental activities; for instance, for the establishment of Lcal Agenda 21s, and for international cooperation at the local authorities level. Local authorities are directly involved in the implementation of laws, regulations and guidelines, and in the observation, measurement and control of pollution, etc. regarding conservation of the environment. They also carry out various anti-pollution and nature conservation projects. Many local authorities play an important role in global environmental protection as well. Local authorities have been involved in international cooperation for the promotion of sustainable development through the World City Forum, which was held in connection with the Earth Summit.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For information on Local Authorities in Japan's Agenda 21, click here.

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WORKERS AND UNIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Workers take some part in National Agenda 21 discussions and implementation, and Japanese trade unions have contributed to environmental conservation and recycling. Some trade unions have been involved in international cooperation activities, including participation in the NGOs '92 Global Forum' held in conjunction with the Earth Summit. The Government promotes the active participation by workers and trade unions in decision-making regarding environment and development as well as through talks with trade union representatives and endeavors to improve the environmental education of workers. Trade unions have participated in advisory councils and worked with local authorities. In addition, they conduct activities in the workplace and regional communities for legislation, such as the Basic Environment Law, the promotion of waste reduction, recycling and tree-planting. Industrial federations of trade unions participate in environment-related industrial activities. Business unions are involved in observation of business and environment-related activities.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The ILO Conventions No.87 and No.98 have been ratified.

 

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For information on Workers and Trade Unions in Japan's Agenda 21, click here.

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BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There are governmental policies encouraging increased efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

Business and industry deal not only with traditional types of industrial pollution concerning air and water, but also with a wide range of environmental problems, including those of global warming and waste. They play a major role in economic activities, and are expected to play a bigger role in regards to the construction of a sustainable socio-economic system with reduced environmental load.

In addition to the measures adopted thus far, Japan also provides economic and institutional assistance to the private sector for the development of technology, facilities and equipment which contribute to the rationalized use of energy in manufacturing processes; promotes various measures in accordance with the Action Program to Arrest Global Warming, the Law concerning the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and the Automobile NOx Reduction Law; develops a system to stimulate the Project for Innovation and Development of Environment and Energy Technologies, which is based on The New Earth 21 Programme; promotes the transfer of technology which contributes to environmental conservation and the creation of a new framework by which recycling can permeate into the existing socio-economic system; participates actively in the creation of internationally harmonized standards of environmental audits; and promotes the development of methods for the objective assessment of the environmental burden imposed on business and industry by environmentally-friendly production processes and products.

In addition to the governmental efforts mentioned above, 'Environment Appeal' was enacted in July 1996 to embody the concept of the KEIDANREN Global Environment Charter adopted in April of 1991. Its main objectives include measures for global warming mitigation and the establishment of a circulative economic society.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.


* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For information on Business and Industry in Japan's Agenda 21, click here.

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SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Japan supports the scientific and technological community domestically through its Council for Science and Technology, chaired by the Prime Minister, and internationally, through the Association for Science Cooperation in Asia (ASCA).

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The scientific community has already established ways in which to address the general public and deal with sustainable development. The scientific and technological community plays a major role in the movement toward sustainable development. Of particular significance is its role in the development of environmentally-friendly technology and the establishment of information systems.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

Click here for information on the science and technology community in Japan's National Agenda 21.

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FARMERS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

The role played by farmers is of great significance to sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Farmers created an independent Agricultural Cooperation, which decided at its 1991 Conference to promote environmentally-friendly agriculture. In this regard, it has undertaken a campaign to develop appropriate agricultural methods and to reduce the use of chemicals and fertilizers.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

Click here for information on Farmers in Japan's Agenda 21.

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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Science and Technology Agency, the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry are the institutions primarily responsible for Natural and Social Sciences and related legislation and policies. Both representatives of the science sector (Natural and Social Sciences) and some individual scientists are represented in the National Coordination Mechanism for Sustainable Development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The following national legislation has been established, reviewed and modified to meet the requirements for sustainable development as described in chapter 35 of Agenda 21:

The Science and Technology Basic Law was established in 1995. Its objectives are to achieve a higher standard of science and technology ("S&T"), to contribute to the development of the economy and society in Japan and to the improvement of the welfare of the nation, as well as to contribute to the progress of S&T in the world and the sustainable development of human society, through prescribing the basic policy requirements for the promotion of S&T and comprehensively and systematically promoting policies for the progress of S&T.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Science and Technology Basic Plan was established in 1996 to promote S&T policies comprehensively, systematically, and positively from a new view point with the aim of S&T system reforms, and also to provide concrete science and technology promotion policies for five years from the 1996 fiscal year to the 2000 fiscal year which contain projections for the next 10 years.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

The most important post-Rio projects related to natural, social, and engineering sciences are:

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Japan also works to improve public awareness of policies related to sustainable development and to transfer scientific knowledge to developing countries.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

The Government is also involved in the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research to provide necessary governmental support to the scientific process of reducing uncertainties related to global change; and activities related to various bilateral environment or science and technology agreements. (As of November 1996, there were four bilateral environmental cooperation agreements and seventeen bilateral science and technology agreements).

Having experienced serious pollution in the past, Japan has actively promoted scientific research to address the problems of domestic pollution.  It actively participates in worldwide research projects, including the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Program (HDP), and the Technology Renaissance for Environment and Energy, as well as in such scientific assessment activities as those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It also carries out related interdisciplinary research. Furthermore, Japan contributes to regional development, including the construction of a research network for the promotion of effective research in the Asia-Pacific region.

Cooperation

Japan carries out long-term assessments of the state of the environment in a socio-economic context, and assists efforts to improve the capacity-building in developing countries, through various means, including official development assistance.

 

 

 

* * *

This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

Science in Japan, click here:

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Environment Agency, the National Institute for Environment Studies, and the Science and Technology Agency are the institutions primarily responsible for information for decision-making. National research institutes have been conducting studies to establish a methodological framework for the Japanese environmental accounting system in such areas as integration of macro-economic and environmental policy. The aforementioned work has been implemented by such institutions as the Environment Agency, the Economic Planning Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. However, there is no one government institution which has centralised responsibility for decision-making. Each relevant ministry and agency collects and disseminates information and data in the field of sustainable development within its mandatory (e.g. population data by Ministry of Health and Welfare.)

In addition to these relevant ministries /agencies, it is noted that Ministry of Post and Telecommunication and National Land Agency are mainly responsible in terms of development of communication infrastructure and development of GIS, respectively.

There have been no mechanism for co-ordinating information management related to sustainable development within the government so far. In order for promoting policy for GIS development, inter-ministry co-ordination meetings have been convened jointly by National Land Agency, Geographical Survey Institute and Cabinet Secretariat with the participation of relevant ministries/agencies.

Since central government has not authorised the general modality, ways and means of information management at local levels, public authority and local governments may develop their information management policy at their will. In general, public authority and local governments have collected vast amount of data & information for their own purposes and for statistical and administrative needs of the  central governments.

The Geographical Survey Institute of the Ministry of Construction has arranged the establishment of the International Steering Committee on Global Mapping, whose aim is to coordinate the development of global geographic data for understanding global environmental problems, mitigating natural disasters and realizing economic growth within the context of sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs was adopted in 1999 in order to strive for greater disclosure of information archived by administrative organs. The Law will be effective from April 2001.

Japan has developed a System of National Accounts (SNA) that includes the Satellite System for Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA), drawing upon the standards contained in the SNA Handbook on Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting of the United Nations. Particular importance is being given to quantitative and qualitative changes in Japan's forest and agricultural resources in this regard. The work being undertaken will also clarify the whole scope of environmental information through the development of the inventories of sources of environment-related information.

Economic Planning Agency and Environment Agency has conducted a study on the methodology of national green accounting. Future application of national green accounting on a regular basis is expected.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Environment Agency (EA) conducted a study on identification and applicability of indicators for the purpose of effective monitoring of the implementation of Basic Environment Plan. The final report of the study was published in 1999. The identified indicators is expected to be utilised in monitoring the revised Basic Environment Plan to be effective from 2001.

The Environment Agency and relevant Ministries has submitted environmental statistical information to OECD since 1985. The information has been incorporated as parts of biennially publsihed OECD environmental data compendium.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) exchanges, collects, analyses, and monitors a wide range of information regarding the climate and climate change that is necessary for promoting policies and measures in achieving sustainable development within the framework of international programmes conducted by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and relevant international organisations. These programmes include the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the Climate Information and Prediction Services (CLIPS).

The Environment Agency has implemented the promotion of Environmental Information Network in Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA NET) since 1995. The purpose of the project is establishing an environmental information network in Asia and the Pacific region. Two meetings were convened in order to identify a set of information to be registered in a clearing web-site with the participation of a dozen of Asia-Pacific Country. A pilot web-site ("http://www.ecoasia.net") is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Among major groups, scientist and local authorities are particularly active in information collection, analyses and dissemination. In addition to them, business sector has become active in disseminating environmental information concerning their operation by publishing corporation environmental report and establishing websites in recent years.

While both national and local governments has requested the private sector to provide information for decision making in environmental protection policy and considerably utilised it for decades, private sector has become conscious about  disclosing information on their environmental activity on voluntary basis to highlight their social responsibility.

In the process of identification of environmental indicators studied by Environment Agency, public comments were called in 1997.

Programmes and Projects 

The Japanese Government has 1) connected local networks of ministries and agencies to the internet; 2) provided every officials at headquarters of ministries and agency with an internet connected computer; and 3) established websites of each ministry/ agency. These programs have improved the government officials' literacy on electric information and the condition of access to the information by general public including sustainable development information.

Status 

Although information for sustainable development has been collected, analysed and provided by relevant government bodies respectively, we have not established a particular mechanism of information network related sustainable development.

Each part of information on sustainable development has been considerably collected and disseminated by relevant government bodies in our country. However, availability and accessibility of the information are not sufficient because the information is not compiled and configured with sustainable development perspective. It is expected to establish a meta-database for sustainable development information and national data clearinghouse for sustainable development.

Environment Agency (EA) conducted a study on identification and applicability of indicators for the purpose of effective monitoring of implementation of Basic Environment Plan. The final report of the study was published in 1999. The examples of identified indicators are as follows:

*Greenhouse Gas emissions;

*Sox, Nox emissions;

*Automobile road traffic at main roads;

*Total Material input; and

*Recycle ration in total waste.

As for the sustainable land use policy, the Third National Land Use Plan formulated in February 1996 stipulates scale targets of categories to be achieved by 2005 in the following table. 

Scale Targets of Categories Corresponding to the Purpose of

National Land Use

(1,000 hectares, %)

 

1992

2005

Distribution Ratio

1992

2005

Agricultural land

525

499

13.9

13.2

Cultivated land

516

490

13.7

13.0

Grazing land

9

9

0.2

0.2

Forest land

2,520

2,522

66.7

66.7

Natural grassland

27

23

0.7

0.6

Water surface

132

135

3.5

3.6

Road

117

137

3.1

3.6

Building land

165

185

4.4

4.9

Residential land

99

110

2.6

2.9

Factory land

17

18

0.5

0.5

Office, shop land

49

57

1.3

1.5

Other land

292

278

7.7

7.4

Total

3,778

3779

100.0

100.0

Urban area

117

140

-

-

Note: (1) 1992 classification of land category is based on “Land Survey for Public Facilities”; National Land Agency

       (2) Roads include general roads, farm roads and forest roads.

       (3) Urban areas refer to densely inhabited districts defined in the population census of Japan.

          The 1992 urban area is the area of densely inhabited districts according to the 1990 population census of Japan.

 

Governments at both national and local level once had been very reluctant to disclose administrative information and this attitude have been criticised. However citizens' demand for ensuring transparency and accountability of government operation have grown so large that administrative information disclosure becomes one of the biggest national political agenda  in 1990s.

As the result, preceded by the establishment of information disclosure ordinances in many local government, Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs was adopted in 1999 at national level. Since administrative information more open to the public is a continuing trend, the access to information including sustainable development information will be improved and the participation into the decision-making process by the public is expected to be enhanced.

Availability of sustainable development information at the national level is as follows:

Agenda 21 Chapters Very good Good Some good data but many gaps Poor
2. International cooperation and trade   X    
3. Combating poverty   X    
4. Changing consumption patterns   X    
5. Demographic dynamics and   X    
6. Human health   X    
7. Human settlements   X    
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making     X  
9. Protection of the atmosphere   X    
10 Integrated planning and management of   X    
11 Combating deforestation   X    
12 Combating desertification and drought   X    
13 Sustainable mountain development     X  
14 Sustainable agriculture and rural   X    
15 Conservation of biological diversity     X  
16 Biotechnology   X    
17 Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their   X    
18 Freshwater resources   X    
19 Toxic chemicals   X    
20 Hazardous wastes   X    
21 Solid wastes   X    
22 Radioactive wastes       X
24 Women in sustainable development   X    
25 Children and youth   X    
26 Indigenous people   X    
27 Non-governmental organizations     X  
28 Local authorities   X    
29 Workers and trade unions   X    
30 Business and industry   X    
31 Scientific and technological community   X    
32 Farmers   X    
33 Financial resources and mechanisms   X    
34 Technology, cooperation and capacity-   X    
35 Science for sustainable development   X    
36 Education, public awareness and training   X    
37 International cooperation for capacity-   X    
38 International institutional arrangements   X    
39 International legal instruments   X    
40 Information for decision-making   X  

Challenges

Establishment of indicators for sustainable development based on the consensus among whole actors of sustainable development field and the provision of their relevant information which helps the understandings of the public.

Rural areas should be taken care because these areas have lesser accessibility to information. Further, the benefits from the development of information technology should be equally shared.

Although the lack of political will and the lack of policy dialogues among stakeholders are consider to be major challenges defined above, the vagueness of the conception of sustainable development is also a major obstacle to promote measures in a persuasive manner at national level. To make the measures more operative ones, specific guidelines regarding indicators and national information system to be adopted at international level is expected. Such guidelines would help countries implement the promotion of indicators and national information systems more effectively.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

In general, Japanese government has been disseminating the information on major environmental issues including  relevant international negotiations, through the internet and mass media.

Governments at both national and local level has provided their officials with training courses for information analysis and management. Examples of the theme of those courses are, utilisation of remote-sensing data, computer operation, statistical data analysis and handling. The programs have an emphasis on so-called hard side aspects like mechanical operation and lack of soft-side aspects such as communication theory and interaction with general public etc.

Some of local governments hve implemented measures such as establishing websites for disseminating environmental information to their citizens and training their citizens how to connect the internet and acquire information through it.

Information 

Environment Agency's website is taking a role of portal site of information on sustainable development. Its URL is "http://www.eanet.go.jp/" .

Japan will continue to promote the development and improvement of an indicator system in which environmental factors are appropriately evaluated, and to coordinate this work with the indicators of sustainable development developed under the auspices of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

Sustainable development information is available for all users described in Chapter 40 and all domestic sources of information related to sustainable development are represented.

Research and Technologies 

Various kinds of remote sensing sensors are being tested and utilized in Japan. Especially as for the oceanographic sensor, a real-time differential absorption LIDAR (DIAL) has been developing for detecting various impurities in the atmosphere. As the pulse repetition rate of the wavelength tunable laser used is 1000 Hz, the transient behaviour of the impurities in the atmosphere can be measured within a second. A high repetition rate and all-solid-state wavelength tunable laser with wider wavelength range has also been developing. And the DIAL becomes much more useful tool for watching the atmosphere in the near future.

The Coast Guard acquires the distribution of sea surface temperatures and sea level heights from satellite data to monitor the sea state.

LIDAR: light detection and ranging

            DIAL: differential absorption LIDAR

Atmospheric Environmental Regional Observation System (AEROS) is a system to offers a real time distribution of atmospheric pollutants such as Nox, Sox and Ox concentration in and around Tokyo area through the internet. This system is a combination of existing atmospheric observation network system and the recently developing information technology. This system, starting from 2000, has greatly enhanced the people's accessibility to the information of atmospheric pollution on real-time basis.

Real-time predictions of environmental impacts due to accidental releases of pollutant materials, e.g., radionucildes, are realised by using a combination of atmospheric and air pollution numerical models with geographical and meteorological database. A couple of computer-based real-time prediction systems, named SPEEDI and WSPEEDI, are now operated for domestic and world-wide nuclear accidents with accidental releases of radionuclides into the atmosphere.

The importance of technologies which combines element technologies should be highlighted to facilitate the access to the sophisticated information by the general public.

Financing

Environment Agency, one of the government body responsiblel for environmental policy, spends about 150 million yen per year to maintain its website. This includes cost of leased computer equipment and preparing contents for the website.

Cooperation

The representative examples of cooperation in gathering and sharing information on sustainable development are:

1)                   Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN):The APN is an inter-governmental network whose primary purposes are to foster global environmental change research in the Asia-Pacific region, increase developing country participation in the research, and to strengthen links between the science community and policy makers. It promotes, encourages and supports research activities on long-term global changes in climate, ocean and terrestrial systems, and on related physical, chemical, biological and socio-economic processes.

2)                   Environmental Information Network in Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA NET): The Environment Agency has implemented it since 1995. The purpose of the network is to establish an environmental information network in the Region. Two meetings were convened in order to identify  the set of information to be registered at a clearing website with the participation of a dozen of Asia-Pacific Countries. A pilot web-site ("http://www.ecoasia.net") is available.

Given the importance of strengthening capacity of developing countries to monitor the status of their environment, Japan has taken the "environmental center approach".  Environmental centers, established in 6 countries with support of  Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has been playing pivotal roles as national bases for gathering and sharing environmental information.

Japan has also organized the training course to build enough capacity of developing countries in East Asia to participate in the East Asia Acid Deposition Monitoring Network (EANET).

In addition, Japan has provided assistance for the establishment of Environmental Information Network in China, which supports the Chinese government to gather and share environmental information.  Japan has decided to extent a grant aid up to  940 million yen for the network. Furthermore, the new training course for the usage of this network has been set up in Beijing in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Government has been involved in the following bilateral or multilateral initiatives:

  • UNEP/GRID
  • CEOS (Committee of Earth Observation Satellite);
  • GOIN (Japan-U.S. Global Observation Information Network);
  • The Environment Research and Training Center Project implemented in Thailand, China and Indonesia to transfer technology and develop capacity to conduct monitoring surveys and to establish a database system;
  • The UNEP International Environmental Technology Center, established in Japan by UNEP, is making a database in order to transfer environmentally sound technology to developing countries and countries with economies in transition;
  • The International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer which is creating a database of environmentally sound technologies which have already been introduced in the industrial sector.

Japan, as a Member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), seconds experts in activities of WMO to develop standard formats of observational data exchanged for real time operational meteorological services.

Japan also intends to improve and expand the data network of observation data from Earth observation satellites including the expansion of this network into the Asia-Pacific region. In order to promote the integration of environmental information and its use in decision-making, Japan will further support and improve the organizations which carry out the main functions of collection and analysis of environmental information.

 

 

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This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development.  . Last update: December 2000.

For a direct link to the National Office of Statistics in Japan, click here:
For information on information in Japan's Agenda 21, click here.
For Japan's Environmental Information Centre, click here.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Japan is of the view that the involvement of NGOs is essential in the realization of sustainable development. In this context Japan reaffirms the importance of the continued participation of NGOs, the scientific community, the private sector as well as local groups.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

It is very significant that frameworks to deal with a wide spectrum of environment and development issues were the result of negotiation at UNCED over a relatively short period of time. In addition to implementing the existing legal frameworks, it will be important for the international community to study the possibility of establishing additional frameworks as necessary. Japan will continue to positively participate in the formulation of related international law, as well as in the process of implementing such laws. Given the relationship between the various environment-related conventions, and trade-related problems, it is anticipated that there will be many issues which will require resolution. In this respect, Japan is in favour of strengthening all mechanisms for the settlement of disputes.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

International cooperation for the safe management of nuclear energy should be enhanced and Japan takes great pleasure in noting that the Convention on Nuclear Safety finally entered into force, with the understanding that nuclear safety should primarily be the responsibility of countries with nuclear installations.

 

 

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This information is based on Japan's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information on international legal instruments in Japan's Agenda 21.

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