Section 1.  Basic Concepts

 Humankind has been receiving benefits from the environment and in doing 
so has been imposing a great burden upon it.  The environment is limited 
and is made up of various ecosystems which exist only through the 
maintenance of delicate balances.  Moreover, it is the common birthright 
of both present and future generations.  
 Recent population increases and expansions in human activities, however, 
have led to over-exploitation of natural resources and a substantial 
increase in the amount of waste generated.  The scope of these 
activities has exceeded the environment's capacity to absorb them and 
has resulted in pollution and the burdens of nature.  A substantial 
expansion of human activities, which transformed traditional 
agricultural civilizations into the industrial civilizations of the post-
Industrial Revolution era and then to the modern industrial societies of 
today, is largely to blame.  It is feared that the accumulation of 
environmental burdens inflicted by present human activities is 
threatening the global environment and consequently, human life.  It is 
likewise feared that the impact of these activities will become 
irreversible and be passed on to future generations.  
 There are still many unknown elements regarding the characteristics and 
value of the environment.  However, anxiety over its degradation and 
awareness that preventative measures are necessary to for its conserve 
has become common.  One point upon which all countries agree is the 
necessity of attaining a state of sustainable development.  To achieve 
this goal, it is necessary for developed countries, including Japan, 
which have been imposing great burdens upon the Earth's environment, to 
review their behavioral patterns.
 Furthermore, developed countries, must work out their plans together 
and, under a global partnership, must take affirmative steps to 
structure foreign aid so as to meet actual needs in developing countries.
  These mutual efforts should be promoted internationally.  In Japan, 
people are realizing that their materialistic attitudes are resulting in 
an environmental crisis and there is an popular movement demanding 
modifications.  It is not easy to change the norms of socioeconomic 
systems or current lifestyles.  It is, nonetheless, necessary.  All 
sectors of society must carry their fair share of the burden to 
incorporate the needs of the environment into the economic system.
 It must be remembered, that humankind's ability to lead healthy and 
cultured lifestyles is entirely due to the abundant blessings of the 
Earth's environment.  These blessings are meant to be enjoyed by both 
present and future generations.  Likewise, as joint owners of this 
limited environment, people have an obligation to maintain it so that it 
might last far into the distant future.  Inheriting the wisdom of our 
ancestors, who lived within the means of their environment, it is 
essential to question the present civilization and change production and 
consumption patterns to sustainable ones.

Section 2. Long-Term Objectives

 The aforementioned section covers the basic ideas of environmental 
policy.  The following discussion will introduce the long-term goals of 
this policy.  Briefly, they are: (1) closed material circulation, (2) 
harmonious coexistence, (3) participation, and (4) international effort. 
 To build the desired relationship between people and the environment, 
comprehensive measures shall be promoted.

1.  Desired Relationship Between People and the Environment
 The environment is finite and is the life support system of humankind.  
In the environment, materials circulate between air, water, soil and 
living creatures.  They break down and reassemble in a constant process 
that is characteristic of nature's circulation of materials.  The 
ecosystem is formed by many delicate balances.  In order to conserve a 
rich, sound environment, it is necessary to maintain both the entire 
system and each individual, component, system in healthy condition.  To 
achieve this, precautionary measures employing scientific knowledge 
should be applied to avoid serious, irreversible negative impacts on the 
environment.  To harmoniously coexist with nature, nature's own material 
circulation should be utilized.  In this way, a system incorporating 
closed material circulation will emerge from everyday socioeconomic 

2. Long-Term Objectives
 The ultimate goal of this Plan is to attain a state of sustainable 
development while continuing to conserve a healthy and rich environment. 
 The following four iv. objectives must be secured to reach this 
ultimate goal.

2.1.  Environmentally Sound Material Cycle
 Burdens on the atmosphere, water and soil are caused by interference 
with nature's circulation of materials.  To reduce these burdens, our 
socioeconomic system must be based upon nature's circulation of 
materials.  Thus, things removed from the Earth, such as raw materials 
and energy, must  pass cleanly through our socioeconomic system at every 
stage, from production, through the stream of commerce, to consumption 
and finally to disposal.  Plans to limit the occurrence of waste and to 
properly dispose of it are essential.  This Plan aims to create such a 

2.2.  Harmonious Coexistence
 The atmosphere, water, soil, wildlife, people and their behavior, 
mutually effect one another.  It is necessary to work on appropriate 
methods to conserve the environment depending on the special way that it 
was formed.  Such methods include conserving invaluable nature, 
maintaining and conserving secondary nature, environmental restoration 
and wildlife conservation management.  Planning the wise use of nature, 
while simultaneously providing places and opportunities to come in 
contact with it, will ensure a rich exchange between human beings and 
nature.  This Plan shall ensure the maintenance and restoration of a 
healthy ecosystem and a harmonious coexistence between nature and human 

2.3.  Participation
 To create a socioeconomic system with closed material circulation and 
state of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, comprehensive 
policies must be developed with long range views.  This means that the 
environment must be considered at every step.  Wasteful, 'disposable' 
lifestyles must be reviewed and people's values and conduct must be 
 Every sector of society needs to fully understand the relationship that 
exists between humankind and the environment.  It is essential that each 
sector also voluntarily and actively participate in efforts to utilize 
the environment wisely and to reduce burden to it.  It is further 
necessary that the cost be fairly spread throughout society.  This can 
be accomplished by employing the Polluter Pays Principle ("PPP").  Under 
this principle, contributions are made depending on the amount of burden 
imposed on, or benefits received from the environment, by each 
individual or group.  

2.4. International Activities
 Current global environmental problems are a concern of everyone.  No 
one country can solve these problems alone.  Therefore, it is necessary 
for all nations to join together in the effort.  Japan's economy is 
closely interdependent with the rest of the world.  With one of the 
larger economies, Japan benefits a great deal from the global 
environment and at the same time influences it greatly.  
 All sectors of society, including the government, shall promote 
international cooperation with a view to maintaining a healthy global 
environment.  By fully utilizing the experiences and technologies that 
overcame severe domestic pollution in the past, Japan shall strive to 
make significant contributions, appropriate to its position in the 
global society.

Section 3. Developing Comprehensive Indicators

 The Basic Environment Plan sets long-term objectives for building a 
sustainable society, to attain a socioeconomic system of "sound material 
cycle", "harmonious coexistence" with nature, "participation" and "
international activities", and provides future direction of measures to 
achieve these objectives.  It is desirable to specify comprehensive 
indicator/indicators which show the progress of these objectives and the 
relation between the objectives and measures, in order to ensure 
effective implementation of the measures.  Whereas studies and research 
have been carried out extensively both domestically and abroad, at this 
point, there are not enough results to incorporate the indicators in 
this Plan.  Therefore, the Government will immediately begin working on 
development of the comprehensive indicators and utilize the results in 
implementing and reviewing the Plan.