********************************************************************** THE BASIC ENVIRONMENT PLAN (Cabinet Decision) GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN The Basic Environment Plan was established by the Cabinet decision on December 16, 1994, as a long-term comprehensive national plan for environmental conservation, in accordance with the Article 15 of the Basic Environment Law (Law No. 91, 1993). This English translation is preliminary, being prepared to enhance public awareness on future directions of Japanese environmental policy. Any reader who seeks to understand formal policy and measures of Japanese Government should refer to the Japanese original text which is published by the Governmental Printing Office of the Ministry of Finance ("Kankyo Kihon Keikaku", ISBN4-17-155602-3) . This translation and publication was sponsored by the Global Environmental Forum, and the translation was undertaken by the Japan Center of International and Comparative Environmental Law. The Environment Agency is grateful for the assistance and efforts of these organizations and the members of the working group : Mr. Tadashi OHTSUKA (Professor of Law, Gakushuin University), Dr. Mineo KATO (Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Yokohama National University), Mr. Yumihiko MATUMURA (Associate Professor, Kyorin University), Mr. Michael DUNN (Research Student, Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo) and Mr. Louis J. ROSS(Research Student, Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo). Copies of this English text can be purchased by mail order at : Global Environmental Forum 1-9-7 Azabudai, Minatoku, Tokyo 106, JAPAN Any inquiries regarding the Plan should be forwarded to : Strategic Environmental Planning Division, the Environment Agency 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyodaku, Tokyo 100, JAPAN Table of Contents FOREWORD 1 Part I. BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PLAN 2 Section 1. Trends in Environmental Problems 2 1. Changing environmental problems 2. Future trends in environmental problems 3. Characteristics of future environmental problems Section 2. Growing Awareness and Activities 5 1. International community 2. Activities in the nation Section 3. Significance of the Plan 6 Part II. PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY 7 Section 1. Basic Concepts 7 Section 2. Long-Term Objectives 7 1. Desired relationship between people and the environment 2. Long-term objectives 2.1. Environmentally sound material cycle 2.2. Harmonious coexistence 2.3. Participation 2.4. International activities Section 3. Developing Comprehensive Indicators 8 Part III. FUTURE POLICY ON ENVIRONMENRAL CONSERVATION 10 Chapter 1. Building a Socioeconomic System Fostering Environmentally Sound Material Cycle 11 Section 1. Conserving the Atmosphere 11 1. Conserving the global atmosphere 2. Preventing broadly spreading air pollution 3. Preventing urban air pollution 4. Measures on toxic substances 5. Improving living environment 6. Establishing a system for monitoring the atmosphere Section 2. Conserving the Water Environment 18 1. Environmentally sound water circulation 2. Reducing environmental load at each stage of water use 3. Conserving the environment in closed water system 4. Conserving the marine environment 5. Establishing a system for monitoring the water environment Section 3. Conserving the Soil and Ground Environment 22 1. Safety of the soil environment 2. Conserving the ground environment Section 4. Policies on Waste and Recycling 24 1. Reducing waste generation 2. Promoting recycling 3. Promoting proper waste disposal Section 5. Policies on Environmental Risks of Chemicals 26 Section 6. Environmental Consideration in Technological Development etc. 27 Chapter 2. Harmonious Coexistence Between Nature and Humankind Section 1. Coexistence compatible with the region's natural/social characteristics 29 1. Mountainous areas 2. Countryside areas 3. Areas with high human impact 4. Coastal seas Section 2. Conserving Biodiversity 33 Section 3. Securing and Utilizing the Blessings of a Sound Environment 33 1. Various efforts in regional planning 2. Responsible utilization of nature Chapter 3. Participation by All Sectors of Society Sharing Fair Burden 35 Section 1. Role of Each Sector 35 1. The State 2. Local governments 3. Corporations 4. People 5. Private organizations Section 2. Promoting voluntary actions by each participant 38 1. Promoting environmental education and learning 2. Promotion of specific activities to conserve the environment 3. Providing information Section 3. Setting an Example by Government Action 39 Section 4. Efforts in Major Socioeconomic Sectors 40 1. Production, marketing, consumption and disposal of goods 2. Energy supply and consumption 3. Transportation and traffic 4. Others Chapter 4. Measures Forming the Basis of Environmental Policy 45 Section 1. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 45 Section 2. Regulatory Measures 45 Section 3. Economic Measures 46 Section 4. Environmental Infrastructure Improvement 47 Section 5. Scientific Research, Monitoring/Observation and Environmental Technology 47 Section 6. Providing and Maintaining Environmental Information 49 Section 7. Regional Pollution Abatement Programs 50 Section 8. Environmental Health, Pollution Disputes, etc. 51 Chapter 5. Promoting International Activities 53 Section 1. Promoting International Cooperation for Global Conservation 53 1. Securing international coordination of policy 2. Conserving the environment in developing regions 3. Conserving internationally valuable environments 4. Strengthening the domestic foundation to promote cooperation 55 Section 2. International Cooperation in Research, Observation and Monitoring 55 Section 3. Encouraging Activities by Local Governments and Private Sector 55 Section 4. Environmental Consideration in International Cooperation 55 Section 5. Efforts Based on International Agreements 55 Part IV. EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN 57 Section 1. Implementation Scheme and Society-Wide Cooperation 57 Section 2. Setting Specific Goals 57 Section 3. Financial and Other Measures 57 Section 4. Plan Coordination 57 Section 5. Follow-up of Progress and Review of the Plan 58 Appendices 59 FOREWORD Humankind can enjoy healthy and cultured living, depending on the abundant blessings of the Earth's environment. Recently, however, it is becoming a common recognition that the global environment, the very basis of humankind's continued existence, is at risk of being damaged. There is a growing need to reconsider our values placing too much emphasis on the pursuit of material wealth, and the prevailing socioeconomic activities and lifestyles marked by mass-production, mass- consumption, and mass-disposal. It is the present generation's obligation to pass on to the future generations a well conserved and healthy environment, both globally and domestically. This obligation applies to all humankind. As for Japan, we must change our society to a sustainable one that generates little burden on the environment, while at the same time promoting international activities for conserving the global environment. Based on these considerations, the Government hereby establishes the Basic Environment Plan, in accordance with the provision of Article 15 of the Basic Environmental Law (Law No. 91, 1993). The Basic Environment Plan prescribes four long-term objectives. These are 1) to build a socioeconomic system fostering environmentally sound material cycle, where environmental load by human activities are minimized, 2) to secure a harmonious coexistence between humankind and diverse wildlife and natural environment, 3) to enhance participation of all the members of society in environmental conservation activities, and 4) to enhance their international activities. The Plan also provides for the outline of policies, roles of each sector of society, and the direction for implementing various policy instruments, toward the achievement of these objectives. ----------------------------------------------------------------------