Diplomatic Bluebook 2016

Chapter 3

Japan’s Foreign Policy to Promote National and Worldwide Interests

2.Response to Global Issues

(1) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda)” is a set of international development goals by 2030, which was adopted by the UN summit in September 2015 as a successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

MDGs are a set of common development goals by 2015 in development areas with specific numerical targets and with deadlines. There are eight goals and 21 more specific targets under them. The international community witnessed certain progress for 15 years such as the eradication of extreme poverty (Goal 1) and the combating of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (Goal 6), etc. Meanwhile, the goals of education, maternal and child health and sanitation remained unachieved, and progress toward their achievement is lagging behind in some regions, including sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, over these 15 years, new issues arose such as measures against aggravating environmental pollution and climate change, and responses to frequent natural disasters. In addition, the environment related to international development significantly changed including the diversification of actors working for development issues, such as private companies and NGOs.

The 2030 Agenda listed “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets that are interrelated and closely linked to each other to address these situations. The greatest feature is that while MDGs are goals for developing countries, SDGs are universal goals applicable to all countries, which include issues developed countries must address in their countries such as inequality, sustainable consumption and production, and action to combat climate change. Furthermore, the building of a “Global Partnership” is incorporated so that various actors such as governments, the general public, and private sectors of developed and developing countries can overcome the old division between north and south, and work together to achieve goals and targets, using various resources including ODA and private funding.

Japan consistently and proactively contributed to discussions and negotiations for the 2030 Agenda even before full-fledged discussions got underway in the international community. Japan has consistently advocated fundamental concepts of “people-centered” and “leave no one behind” as well as the importance of “Global Partnership.” The 2030 Agenda includes individual areas which are focused on by Japan such as health, gender, education, disaster risk reduction, quality growth, and environment. For 2030, Japan will steadily implement this Agenda which integrates and balances the three aspects of environment, economy, and society, domestically and internationally and contribute to the realization of a sustainable world without poverty.

A. Human Security

Human security is a concept aiming at creating a community in which individual persons are protected, and at the same time empowering them to solve their own issues and to fully display their own competence. Japan identifies human security as one of its diplomatic pillars and has been working on dissemination and implementation of this notion through discussions at the United Nations, the use of the UN Human Security Trust Fund established by Japan’s initiatives, and also Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects. The 2030 Agenda is based on philosophies such as “people-centered” and “leave no one behind” and its core reflects the concept of human security.

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction with the attendance of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress (Sendai, March 15)The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction with the attendance of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress
(Sendai, March 15)
B. Approaches in the Area of Disaster Risk Reduction

Every year, 200 million people are affected by disasters (90% of the victims are citizens of developing countries) and the annual average loss incurred by natural disasters is over 100 billion US dollars. Therefore, disaster risk reduction is essential for realizing poverty eradication and sustainable development. Japan, having suffered from a number of disasters, actively implements international cooperation in the area of disaster risk reduction.

The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030,” a guideline for international efforts in disaster risk reduction, was adopted at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction1 held in Sendai in March, and incorporated points emphasized by Japan such as disaster risk reduction investment in advance, “Build Back Better,” governance with the participation of various actors, a people-centered approach, and the importance of leadership by women. Prime Minister Abe announced the “Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction” and said Japan would provide cooperation amounting to four billion US dollars over the next four years and develop about 40 thousand human resources in total.

As a follow-up to this conference, at the 70th UN General Assembly, Japan proposed a resolution to designate November 5 as “World Tsunami Awareness Day.” The resolution was a joint-proposal by 142 countries including Japan and was adopted by consensus.

Japan plans to share the experience and lessons obtained from past disasters with the world and continues to promote the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction to have every country incorporate disaster risk reduction in its policies.

  • 1 A conference organized by the UN for discussing global strategies for disaster risk reduction. The first (1994, Yokohama), second (2005, Kobe), and third (2015, Sendai) conferences were all hosted by Japan.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ~ why are there 17 goals set in the 2030 Agenda?~

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) listed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There were a total of eight goals in its predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Why did more than twice as many goals come to be set?

One reason is that United Nations (UN) experts took the lead to define the MDGs, whereas the SDGs were set after consideration by all the UN member countries. In the process of two years and a half including the period preceding the formal negotiations of the 2030 Agenda, a number of countries and international organizations raised various issues, so many new elements that had not been included in the MDGs came to be introduced, including sustainable consumption and production, climate change countermeasures and peace and justice.

The underlying factor is a change in the way of thinking with respect to “development” in the international community. To achieve sustainable development, we need to address not only traditional development issues such as poverty eradication in developing countries, but also various emerging issues in an integrated manner, which also requires domestic efforts of developed countries. The fact that explicit agreement on the SDGs was set by leaders at the UN can be said to be a historic event symbolizing a change in their concept on development.

The way of thinking on “development” is expected to continue to change in the future as well. It may be interesting to imagine what the goals that succeed the SDGs after 2030 will be like. The number of goals will be more than 17 or fewer ?.... Each reader of this Bluebook should check in 2030.

The moment when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was virtually agreed upon in substanceThe moment when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was virtually agreed upon in substance
C. Approaches in the Area of Education

In the area of education, Japan announced “Learning Strategy for Peace and Growth,” a new strategy of international cooperation on education, in line with the timing for the adoption of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in September. The new strategy specifies “educational cooperation to achieve inclusive, equitable and quality learning,” “educational cooperation for industrial, science and technology human resource development and sustainable socio economic development,” and “establishment and expansion of global and regional networks for educational cooperation” as guiding principles, and aims at achieving quality education through mutual learning.

Japan also actively participates in education support conferences, such as the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Council.

Japanese technology saves lives ~ Cooperation to control infectious diseases between International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Kansai Paint ~ IPPF Headquarters (London) ●Yuri Taniguchi

Anti-mosquito paint developed by Kansai PaintAnti-mosquito paint developed by Kansai Paint

The IPPF is the world’s largest international NGO to achieve sexual and reproductive health for all. IPPF’s member associations in 153 countries are actively working in 170 countries and carry out health services including mother and child health, sexually transmitted infections and HIV and the sexual and gender based violence. This includes the provision of relevant information, awareness-raising activities, and policy advocacy activities. The IPPF has a long and close relationship with Japan since one of its founders is a Japanese woman (Shizue Kato) and it has been receiving financial support from Japan’s ODA since 1969.

A unique collaboration began in the area of infectious disease control between the IPPF and Kansai Paint Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Kansai Paint”) in 2015. The former has a large network in developing countries and the latter is a Japanese paint manufacturer with excellent technology.

Kansai Paint, ranking 8thin terms of world paint-related product sales, conducts research and development on a wide variety of paints useful in people’s lives. Among these paints, there is a paint that is said to repel mosquitoes, which transmit infectious diseases that threaten human life, such as malaria and dengue fever. According to Kansai Paint, the above-mentioned paint offers an unrivalled effect in preventing the blood-sucking action of mosquitoes that have come into contact with any painted section. Sales of the products have already started in Malaysia and Indonesia, and it is said that it has have received great support from local people.

Kansai Paint, which aims to popularize the innovative paint in malaria-epidemic areas, approached IPPF, which had been looking for a means of raising funds by themselves to provide health care services to people in the poorest and socially vulnerable groups in developing countries.

The IPPF and Kansai Paint, making full use of IPPF’s extensive service centers in developing countries, jointly began public relations activities to promote sales of the anti-mosquito paint.

The joint efforts are aimed at forming a social enterprise partnership, wherein the painting technique will be taught to the youth gathering in IPPF clinics and youth centers, thereby providing them with an opportunity to create income with the technique so acquired, and activity funds paid by Kansai Paint will be utilized to save the lives of pregnant women and infants.

So far, IPPF clinics have been test-coated with anti-mosquito paint in Mozambique and in Malaysia. In Zambia, a tie-up will be started to support sales of anti-mosquito paint and painting education. Through this unique cooperation by a private business and an NGO, we intend to expand activities to save the lives of vulnerable groups from infection all over the world by Japanese technology.

The clinic run by IPPF (FRHAM) after paintingThe clinic run by IPPF (FRHAM) after painting
Test-painting at the clinic run by IPPF Mozambique (AMODEFA)Test-painting at the clinic run by IPPF Mozambique (AMODEFA)
D. Approaches in Agricultural Areas

In coordination with the relevant countries, such as G7 or G20 member states and international organizations, Japan has delivered assistance for agriculture and rural development in developing countries. In particular, Japan acted as a joint facilitator for food security, at the G20 Development Working Group with France in 2015 as well as in 2014.

E. Approaches in the Area of Water and Sanitation

Japan has continuously been the largest donor in the area of water and sanitation since the 1990’s and has implemented high quality assistance utilizing Japan’s experiences, expertise, and technologies. Japan proactively participates in discussions in the international community. His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince attended the final session of the “United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB)” held at the UN Headquarters in New York, in November and made a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the UN “Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters.”

(2) Global Health

Overcoming health issues that threaten lives and hinder all kinds of social, cultural and economic activities is a common global challenge directly linked with human security. Japan has advocated human security, which underlines the “Proactive Contribution to Peace” and has taken action in support of that principle. Japan regards health as an indispensable element. Japan has achieved the world’s highest life expectancy and is further expected to play a proactive role in the area of health. Japan aims to realize the international community that enhances the people’s health as well as ensures the right to health through assisting the area of global health.

Under this principle, Japan has achieved remarkable results in overcoming health issues such as infectious diseases, maternal and child health and nutrition improvements through cooperation with a number of countries and various aid organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), Gavi, Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). However, 3.138 million people still die from three major infectious diseases2 every year and many of the 6.3 million infants younger than five years of age3 and about 300,000 pregnant women4 die from preventable and curable diseases. Therefore, there is an urgent need for enhanced efforts. Along with economic development, responding to a new health issue such as non-communicable disease control has become necessary for developing countries.

Following the formulation of the “Development Cooperation Charter” in February, the Government of Japan decided the “Basic Design for Peace and Health” as its global health policy in September. Making full use of Japanese expertise, technology, medical devices and services, the policy aims to (1) build a system resilient to public health emergencies including the Ebola virus and disasters, and (2) provide basic health services throughout the lives of all people (achievement of UHC: Universal Health Coverage). This basic policy also contributes to the implementation of the 2030 agenda. Moreover, the Government of Japan decided the “Basic Guidelines for Strengthening Measures on Emerging Infectious Diseases” in September, indicating the basic direction and priority issues for around the next five years. Prime Minister Abe contributed an article to the Lancet, the world’s leading medical journal, in December. He pointed out challenges in global health and expressed his intention to contribute to the resolution of these through the G7 Ise-Shima Summit and TICAD VI chaired by Japan. Furtnermore, MOFA and other relevant ministries, together with JICA and the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), co-hosted an international conference to discuss the promotion of UHC in December.

(3) Environmental Issues and Climate Change

A. Global Environmental Issues and Sustainable Development

Through multilateral environmental agreements and various fora, Japan deals with the depletion of resources and the destruction of the natural environment, and is actively making its efforts for the realization of sustainable development. Following the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), further progress in international cooperation has been made in the area of environment, based on the Ministerial Outcome Document and resolutions concerning various issues in the area of environment, adopted at the First UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) held in 2014.

(a) Conservation of Biodiversity

Illegal trade in wildlife, such as elephants and rhinoceros, has become of grave concern in recent years and draws much attention as it reportedly serves as one of the sources of finance for international terrorist organizations. In order for the international community to respond to such threats to biodiversity, Kasane Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade was held in Botswana in March and it adopted a political statement, including the necessity of international cooperation to eradicate illegal wildlife trade. Furthermore, a resolution on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife was adopted at the UN General Assembly in July, and Japan was one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat awarded certificates of registration to the Japanese local authorities with new registered wetlands as Ramsar Sites. (Punta del Este, Uruguay, June 3)The Ramsar Convention Secretariat awarded certificates of registration to the Japanese local authorities with new registered wetlands as Ramsar Sites. (Punta del Este, Uruguay, June 3)

The 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP12) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was held in Uruguay in June, and the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2016-2024 was adopted. In addition, four new Japanese wetlands (Hinuma, Yoshigadaira Wetlands, Higashiyoka-higata, and Hizen Kashima-higata) were designated as Ramsar sites and the designated area of one Ramsar Site (Keramashoto Coral Reef) was enhanced.

(b) Conservation of Forests/Combatting of Desertification

Forest reduction and degradation is closely related to such global issues as sustainable development, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity conservation. At the 11th Expert Meeting of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF11) in May and the 51st Council of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in November, discussions were held on global efforts for sustainable forest management.

In October, the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was held in Turkey and active debate took place including on the definition of “Land Degradation Neutrality.”

(c) International Management of Hazardous Chemicals/Hazardous Waste

As for the Minamata Convention on Mercury (adopted in October 2013), relevant countries continue discussions towards its entry into force (20 countries became Parties as of the end of 2015). In Japan, the 189th Ordinary Session of the Diet approved its conclusion.

In May, Conferences of Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal5, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade6, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants7 were held in Geneva, Switzerland, and issues including cooperation and coordination among the three conventions were discussed. The fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) was held in September and issues including the facilitation of activities under the “Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)” were discussed. In November, the 27th Meeting of Parties of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was decided that future discussions were to continue with regard to the management of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have the greenhouse effect yet do not deplete the ozone layer.

  • 5 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal
  • 6 Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade
  • 7 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
(d) Protection of the Marine Environment

At the 10th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the London Protocol on Oceans and Seas Dumping, discussions were held about strategic plans and compliance matters among others.

With regard to the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) established to protect the environment of the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea with the cooperation among Japan, China, ROK and Russia, an Extraordinary Intergovernmental Meeting was held in Seoul, ROK, in April and the 20th Intergovernmental Meeting was held in Beijing, China in October.

Following the action plan to respond to marine litter issue determined at the G7 Summit 2015 in Schloss Elmau, Germany, an expert workshop on marine litter issue was held in Germany to discuss the implementation of future follow-up.

“Mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction” and “World Tsunami Awareness Day”

Japan has a wealth of knowledge and technology in disaster risk reduction, which has been accumulated from experience with many disasters. Japan leads the international community, in the field of disaster risk reduction through various initiatives, such as development of disaster risk reduction system, prior investment in disaster risk reduction investment, and practice and support of “build-back-better” where a more resilient society is rebuilt in the process of disaster reconstruction, thereby leading the international community.

Japan has contributed greatly towards mainstreaming disaster risk reduction. In March 2015, the “3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction” was held in Sendai, a city affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. As an outcome of the conference, the viewpoint of disaster risk reduction was incorporated firmly into the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and the “Paris Agreement in the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

As a follow-up to the “3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction” and the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the resolution proposed by 142 countries including Japan to designate November 5 as “World Tsunami Awareness Day” was adopted by consensus at the UN General Assembly.

Tsunami is not a disaster that happens many times every year. However, once it occurs, the damage is enormous and the affected area is also wide-ranging as is the case with the tsunami caused by the Sumatra earthquake (December 2004) and the Great East Japan Earthquake (March 2011). It is also true that there were many casualties because they did not have enough knowledge on tsunamis and procedures to evacuate from a tsunami.

The reason why November 5 was designated comes from a famous anecdote, “the fire from a sheaf of rice.” The story goes as follows: when the Ansei Nankai Earthquake occurred on November 5, 1854 (the 1st year of the Ansei era), one of the villagers (Goryo Hamaguchi), sensed the coming of a tsunami from traditional knowledge and set fire to his own sheaf of rice in order to alert the villagers to a tsunami and to make them evacuate to a hill, thereby saving their lives. Goryo Hamaguchi also made efforts to construct an embankment afterwards, thereby protecting the villagers’ lives from subsequent tsunami disasters.

This story includes important elements that were confirmed at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction: ① Early warning, ② Utilization of traditional knowledge, and ③ Build-back-better.

Goryo Hamaguchi setting fire to his rice shavesGoryo Hamaguchi setting fire to his rice shaves

It is expected that the World Tsunami Awareness Day raises people’s awareness about the threat of tsunamis all over the world, and promotes countermeasures. Japan will take the initiative on the “World Tsunami Awareness Day” annually to conduct educational activities and strengthen countermeasures against tsunami in many parts of the world.

  • 1) The government of each country is asked to incorporate “disaster risk reduction” into its development policy and plan as a priority policy. As a result, it can be expected that investment will increase in “disaster risk reduction,” thereby creating a more resilient society.
  • 2) In Japan, November 5 is designated as “Tsunami Preparedness Day,” subject to the “Law concerning the Promotion of Counter-tsunami Measures (June 2011).”

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) ~ Background of Paris Agreement and Japan’s contribution ~

The moment when the “Paris Agreement” was adopted at COP21 (Photo: UNFCCC)The moment when the “Paris Agreement” was adopted at COP21 (Photo: UNFCCC)

COP21 was a historic meeting in which, the Paris Agreement, a framework applicable to both developed and developing countries, was agreed upon for the first time in the history of climate change negotiations. While the Kyoto Protocol imposed the obligation of greenhouse gas emission reduction only on developed countries, the Paris Agreement, replacing the Kyoto Protocol, requires proactive climate change countermeasures in developing countries as well to advance effective emission reduction on the entire planet, wherein all countries are obliged to submit a target for greenhouse gas emission reduction, report their implementation and undergo a review.

In the background of this historic agreement, it is said that France demonstrated excellent ability in serving as the President of COP21. At the beginning of COP21, France invited the world leaders to hold a summit meeting, thereby increasing the political momentum toward the adoption of an agreement. During the course of negotiations for the agreement, France, as the President, listened carefully to each country’s opinions and got their proposals reflected in the President’s text as much as possible. The role played by the President in adopting the ambitious Paris Agreement was very important. At the same time, a couple of other factors also played a critical role: The entire international community shared the political will that an agreement should be achieved at COP21 to stave off global warming. In addition, movements to seek a compromise and preparations for an agreement were in progress well ahead of COP21 as seen by the agreements between the U.S. and China and the one between France and China.

Japan also greatly contributed to the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Japan, in the negotiations leading up to COP21, served as facilitator for meetings on actions for greenhouse gas emission mitigation and support for addressing climate change countermeasures up to 2020, and also played the role of coordinator in negotiations for capacity building, etc. At COP21, in order to achieve the goals of mobilization of US$ 100 billion in 2020 from both public and private sectors, Prime Minister Abe announced support of about 1.3 trillion yen to developing countries in 2020, equivalent to 1.3 times the current level, thereby contributing significantly to consensus building. Furthermore, all countries are required to report on efforts for climate change and undergo review under the Paris Agreement and, the number of countries and the amount of emissions are used as prerequisites for the entry into force of the Agreement. The Agreement also incorporates the use of market mechanism and the importance of innovation. All of these elements are those which Japan proposed and claimed during the negotiations.

In the future, detailed rulemaking will be a challenge in steady realization of this Agreement. To make the historic Paris Agreement truly effective, Japan intends to steadily advance domestic measures, and actively participate in rulemaking in cooperation with other countries.

B. Climate Change
(a) Agreement on a new international framework in and after 2020 at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21)

A concerted effort by the entire world is essential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The Kyoto Protocol adopted at the third session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) in 1997 obliged developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the United States did not join this framework, and the obligation was not imposed on emerging countries and developing countries. At the COP16 in 2010, the “Cancun Agreement” was adopted, which specifies reduction targets for developed countries and reduction actions for developing countries. At COP17 in 2011, an “Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” was established as a process for negotiating future international framework, and an agreement was reached that a new legal framework to be applicable to all Parties would be agreed upon by the end of 2015 and be brought into force from 2020. With these past agreements as a basis, the Paris Agreement was adopted as a result of tough negotiations at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. This agreement is a fair and effective framework applicable to all Parties for the first time ever.

Japan proactively participated in negotiations at COP21, where this historical agreement was achieved. First of all, on November 30, Prime Minister Abe attended the Leaders Event hosted by President Hollande of France and announced “Actions for Cool Earth 2.0 (ACE2.0)” consisting of two pillars: the implementation of climate-related assistance to developing countries totaling about 1.3 trillion yen from public and private sources in 2020; and innovation enhancement, a key to take actions against climate change while maintaining economic growth. Prime Minister Abe also insisted a new framework should be the one which all countries participate in. In particular, the announcement of climate-related assistance for developing countries engaged in climate change measures clarified a pathway for achieving the goal formulated at COP16 at mobilizing 100 billion US dollars a year by 2020 in order to meet needs of developing countries and considerably helped to establish a consensus on the agreement.

Prime Minister Abe made a speech at the COP21 Leaders Event (Paris, France, November 30; Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)Prime Minister Abe made a speech at the COP21 Leaders Event
(Paris, France, November 30; Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

After that, from Japan, Minister of the Environment Tamayo Marukawa, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kihara, and others attended two-week negotiations on the “Paris Agreement” and directly and proactively engaged in negotiations to reflect Japan’s positions in the agreement. As a result, the “Paris Agreement” incorporates many Japanese proposals: communicating or upgrading emission reduction targets every five years by all countries including major emitters; their reporting on implementation of the targets and undergoing of reviews in a common but flexible manner; and use of market mechanisms, including the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).

(b) Approach on the Green Climate Fund (GCF)

The GCF is a multilateral fund entrusted with the operation of the financial mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to support measures against climate change in developing countries. Its establishment was decided at COP16, and the GCF was designated as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the convention at COP 17 in 2011. The GCF became eligible to start supporting developing countries upon the Japan’s arrangement to contribute 1.5 billion US dollars to the GCF based on the enactment of its internal law: the “Act on Contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Accompanying Measures” (Act No.24 of 2015) in May 2015. To promote the use of GCF in countries vulnerable to climate change, including island states, Japan invited pacific island leaders and held the “Climate Change and Development Forum” at the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) in May 2015. In addition, as a result of proactive participation in fund management as a GCF board member, Japan’s efforts have steadily borne fruit. In November, the GCF board approved the fund for its first eight projects, including two for island states.

(c) Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM)

The JCM is a framework in which technologies, products, systems, services and infrastructure which lead to the reduction of greenhouse gases are disseminated and utilized for climate actions in developing countries. Under the framework, Japan’s contribution to the effected emission reductions or removals is evaluated in a quantitative manner to be used for achieving Japan’s emission reduction target. The number of partner countries, which used to be 12 as of December 2014, has increased to 16.

To coincide with COP21 in November 2015, the “3rd JCM Partner Countries’ High-Level Meeting” was held in Paris for all 16 signatory countries to the JCM, during which all parties welcomed the progress of JCM and expressed their will to implement JCM through continuing mutual cooperation. Furthermore, Environment Minister Marukawa and Ramon J.P. Paje, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources for the Philippines, signed an aide-memoire for establishing JCM between Japan and the Philippines.

(d) Inter-regional approaches

The “13th and the 14th ‘Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change’” were held in Tokyo respectively in January 2015 and in February 2016. Climate change negotiators from both developed and developing countries attended the meetings. Negotiators gathered at the 14th meeting for the first time after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, a new international framework, and actively exchanged opinions for effective implementation of the agreement. Moreover, at COP21, Japan made efforts to show leadership in regional climate change negotiations by implementing the “Fourth East Asia Low Carbon Growth Partnership Dialogue” with policy makers from the East Asia Summit (EAS) participants.

(4) Arctic and Antarctic

A. Arctic
(a) Current situation in the Arctic and Japan’s View

Environmental changes in the Arctic, caused by global warming (melting of sea ice, permafrost, ice sheet, and glaciers, etc.), have brought about new opportunities to the international community, such as utilization of the Arctic Sea Routes and resource development. On the other hand, it has also posed various challenges, such as the acceleration of global warming, its negative impacts on the vulnerable environment of the Arctic, and potential changes in the international security environment, resulting in mounting attention by the international community.

In dealing with these opportunities and challenges over the Arctic, based on a wide range of international cooperation, we have to work out necessary measures through grasping actual condition of environmental changes in the Arctic and its impact on the global environment, as well as precisely predicting further changes. In addition, it is necessary for us to reach a common understanding on appropriate manners of economic use of the Arctic. As a prerequisite for that, actions based on the rule of law must be ensured, which can be seen in dealing with territorial disputes and maritime delimitation issues in the Arctic.

In October, Japan formulated its first comprehensive Arctic Policy. Based on this policy, Japan will contribute to the international community as a main player in addressing Arctic issues, especially by making full use of Japan’s strength in science and technology.

(b) Adoption of “Japan’s Arctic Policy”

“Japan’s Arctic Policy” defines its strategic initiatives in the fields of diplomacy, national security, environment, resource development, and science and technology, from a multidisciplinary perspective with contributions from industry, academia, and the government. It aims to set Japan as a main player that contributes to the international community through its initiatives to Arctic issues.

In addition, the policy also spells out the following three specific initiatives that should be taken concerning the Arctic: “research and development,” “international cooperation,” and “sustainable use.” In particular, in the field of “international cooperation”, Japan seeks (1) to actively participate in response to global issues regarding the Arctic and in international rule-making process for the Arctic, (2) to further contribute to activities of the Arctic Council (AC: an intergovernmental forum lead by Arctic states), and (3) to expand international and bilateral cooperation with Arctic and other countries.

(c) Active participation in international initiatives concerning the Arctic.

Japan was formally admitted as an observer in AC in May 2013. Since then, Japan has been contributing to activities over the AC through actively participating in discussions by dispatching governmental officials and experts to related meetings such as the Senior Arctic Official (SAO) meeting, working groups and task forces. Japan will further strengthen its contribution to the AC through dispatching even more experts to related meetings and having policy dialogues with the AC chair, Member states and others. Moreover, toward further contribution, Japan will strive to participate actively in discussions on expanding the role of observers.

With a view to demonstrating Japan’s efforts on the Arctic, Japan is committed to participating in various international forums on the Arctic and exchanging view with countries concerned including the Arctic states.

At the “Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience” (GLACIER), the conference hosted by John Kerry, Secretary of State of the U.S., was held following the U.S. assumption of the AC chair (for two years from April 2015) in August, to exchange views on strengthening cooperation on climate change, global environmental issues and other Arctic-related issues. President Obama also attended the closing ceremony)” Japan introduced initiatives to further strengthen its contributions to the AC and cooperative relations with the U.S.. In addition, at the 3rd “Arctic Circle”1 Assembly in October, Ms. Kazuko Shiraishi, Japan’s Ambassador in charge of Arctic Affairs, explained the “Japan’s Arctic Policy” and announced that Japan would further strengthen cooperation with countries concerned and its contribution to the international community in addressing Arctic issues.

  • 1 An international conference concerning the Arctic established by President Grimsson of Iceland, aiming at an Arctic version of the “World Economic Forum”
B. Antarctic
(a) The Antarctic Treaty

The Antarctic Treaty adopted in 1959 sets forth the following three basic principles: (1) the use of the Antarctic for peaceful purposes, (2) freedom of scientific investigations and international cooperation, and (3) a freeze on territorial rights and claims.

(b) The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) and environmental protection

The environmental protection in the Antarctic, Antarctic observation, management of the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty, and Antarctic tourism are the themes of annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (the meeting was held in Bulgaria in 2015). Particularly in recent years, active discussions have been held on the impact of tourism activities throughout the year on the environment of the Antarctic zone and the appropriate management of tourism in this area. In addition, environmental protection of the Antarctic has been promoted in accordance with the “Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.”

(c) Japan’s Antarctic observation

Based on the 8th six-year plan of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (2010–2015), Japan is undertaking to reveal the roles and impacts of the Antarctic on the global system of the past, current, and future; particularly through long-term continuous observation for investigating the actual state and mechanism of global warming, as well as through the implementation of various research and observation activities, using large aperture atmospheric radar, etc.