Chapter II.
Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy

Section 3.
Efforts toward the realization of a better global society

B. Global environmental issues

a) Efforts by the international community on global environmental issues

Global warming, depletion of the ozone layer and other global environmental issues are impossible for any one country to handle alone and should be addressed by the international community as a whole. Moreover, environmental issues and developmental issues are two sides of the same coin, in the sense that efforts to address environment issues can sometimes act as a brake on economic and industrial development. This hampers concerted action at international conferences where countries have different levels of development and economic circumstances. However, it will be vital in resolving global environmental issues to coordinate the different perceptions and clashes of interests among the various countries, to develop negotiations between states and regions, and thus to effect compromises.

Endeavors by the international community in regard to global environmental issues made substantial progress through the United Nations Conference on Environmental Development (UNCED, or the so-called Earth Summit), held in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. This conference produced the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, which stipulated a comprehensive list of efforts, and based on these, reviews have been conducted in areas selected yearly since 1993 by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), established under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Specific efforts by the international community are being undertaken primarily through the formation and promotion of area-specific multilateral conventions. With regard to the global warming issue, at the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3), held in Kyoto in December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, which provides for specific greenhouse gas reduction obligations on developed countries and market economy transition countries, and negotiations were consequently held toward formulation of the so-called Kyoto Mechanisms stipulated in this Protocol, namely emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation. At the Fourth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP4), held in Buenos Aires in November 1998, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action was adopted, laying out the work schedule for the Kyoto Mechanisms and other elements. In regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Fourth Conference of the Parties was held in May, and preparatory meetings were held on a protocol on biosafety in February and August, providing for procedures for the safe transport, handling and usage of living organisms modified through biotechnology. As for protection of the ozone layer, the Tenth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol was held in November, with considerations undertaken toward a decision between 2000 and 2002 as to the scale of the Multilateral Fund. In terms of the combating of desertification, the Second Conference of the Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification was held in December.

b) Japan's cooperation

Amid the unfolding of such international efforts, Japan has continued to place international contributions to global environment issues at the top of its foreign policy agenda, undertaking the following types of cooperation.

The first area entails Japan's contributions to convention-related efforts. In terms of climate change, Japan served as Chair from the time of COP3 in Kyoto up until COP4 in November, holding an informal Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo in September as a means of advancing negotiations in the midst of on-going disputes between the relevant countries. Japan's endeavors to push forward international negotiations toward the early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol made a substantial contribution to formation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action at COP4. As for combating desertification, Japan became a party to the Convention to Combat Desertification in December. Also, at the Conference of the Parties to this convention, held the same month, Japan announced as the largest donor that it would continue to cooperate in this area.

Secondly, Japan has been providing environmental support for developing countries. At the 1992 Earth Summit, Japan announced that it would significantly expand and enhance its environmental ODA, looking to increase this from 900 billion yen to one trillion yen for the five-year period beginning in 1992, ultimately disbursing 1.44 trillion yen, a sum considerably above the target amount. Since then, Japan has continued to actively engage itself in environmental cooperation in line with the Initiatives for Sustainable Development toward the 21st Century (ISD), announced in June 1997. In regard to global warming in particular, Japan has been steadily implementing the Kyoto Initiative, announced on the occasion of the Kyoto Conference as support for developing countries on measures to combat global warming.

Thirdly, Japan emphasizes collaborative relations with international institutions. Japan plays a substantial role as a main donor to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and also subsidizes the expenses for projects by the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (Osaka and Shiga) which Japan invited.

In addition to these efforts, Japan also addressed the acid deposition issue by taking the initiative in launching preparatory-phase activities for the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia in April, working toward full operation in 2000 with the participation of major East Asian countries. Moreover, China, formerly only an observer, announced its participation in the network in December, completing the groundwork for full-scale regional efforts in this area.

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