Policy / Systems / Technology

October 22, 2004


White Paper Sees Onset of 'Environmental Revolution'

Keywords: Government Policy / Systems 

In its White Paper on the Environment released in 2004, Japan's Ministry of the Environment (MOE), characterizes the present time as an "Environmental Revolution," following the Industrial Revolution and the Information Technology Revolution. It says that a new age in which our society will evolve around environmental conservation is now starting.

Japan's contributions in the environmental field include continuing development of top-level environmental technology highly valued by the global community. Also, Japanese people have traditionally had an attitude of respect towards the environment, expressed in the common phrase "mottai-nai," meaning "waste not, want not," sometimes used to refuse unwonted luxury in the interest of husbanding resources. The MOE White Paper expresses the expectation that environmental technology and a respectful attitude towards nature will mutually reinforce one another in the pursuit of environmental protection.

The White Paper also calculates the probable scale of an environment-triggered market that is emerging in the form of increased demand for environment-related goods and services as consumers' awareness is raised about environmental conservation. This market, worth 41 trillion yen in the year 2000, is estimated to increase 2.5 times to 103 trillion yen by 2025. During the same period, the number of people employed serving this market is expected to more than double, from 1.06 million to 2.25 million.

Compartmentalization of the administrative spheres ruled by Japan's national Ministries is often blamed for hampering a comprehensive approach to problem-solving. Particularly in the field of sustainability, MOE deals with nature protection, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry deals with the economy, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport deals with infrastructure such as dams and roads, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare deals with employment matters and issues involving women and the disabled. Faced with such a situation, the White Paper advocates harmony between the environment and economy, and emphasizes the need for considering the two factors together, not separately.

Posted: 2004/10/22 11:48:31 AM
Japanese version