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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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Greening Growth

Following a period of modest economic growth, Japan’s economy was severely hit by the 2008-09 global economic downturn. The anti-crisis fiscal stimulus package included several environment-related measures. Reforming the tax system, expanding environmentally related taxes and removing environmentally harmful subsidies could help fiscal consolidation without hampering economic recovery. The long-term strategy to 2020 outlines a green growth path, and sees eco-innovation as the link between environmental improvement, economic growth and social progress. Japan is a leader in environmental and climate-related technologies and is promoting the development of green markets and employment. The declining and ageing population represents a new challenge for both economic and environmental policies.

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