OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Japan 2010

image of OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Japan 2010

This 2010 review of Japan's environmental conditions and policies evaluates progress in reducing the pollution burden, improving natural resource management, integrating environmental and economic policies, and strengthening international co-operation. It includes coverage of policy for greening growth, implementation of environmental policies, climate change, waste management and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and nature and biodiversity.

The review finds that since the last review, Japan has made steady progress in addressing a range of environmental issues, notably air and water pollution, and the management of chemicals and waste. The energy intensity of the economy has continued to decrease, particularly in the industrial sector, and is among the lowest in OECD countries.  Material intensity has also decreased. 

At the same time, several more complex, long-term challenges have come to the fore: climate change, sound waste, materials management, and  biodiversity conservation. Much of the last decade was characterised by sluggish economic growth, and environment and  green innovation are targeted as key drivers of future growth and job creation in Japan's New Growth Strategy.


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Climate Change

The current trends in greenhouse gas emissions represent a major challenge for Japan. A wide range of voluntary, regulatory and economic measures has been put in place to reduce these emissions. Technological progress and negotiated agreements are distinctive features of this policy mix. Local authorities and the private sector play an important, often innovative, role in designing and implementing climate policy. Energy, transport and climate policies are generally mutually supportive, with a focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, infrastructure development and R&D. Japan is a world leader in climate-related R&D. Co-operation with developing countries and adaptation to climate change are receiving growing attention.

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