Japan's climate policiy: post-Fukushima and beyond

In G. Bang, A. Underdal and S. Andresen (eds), The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2015, pp. 119-140.

While Japan hosted the adoption of the Kyoto Protocal i 1997 it has presently rejected to participate in the second commitment period of the protocol. Japan's climate policy was for long quite ambitious, not the least considering the high abatement costs, but this is no longer the case. What has caused this back-lash? Is it Japan's high dependence on imported fossiil fuel due to the Fukushima nuclear disatser or are there also other stumbling blocks? There is no doubt that the nuclear disaster play a large role in explaining this change. However, taking a closer look at Japan's climate policies one is struck by the close cooperation between business and government and most climate measures have therefore been voluntarily. The key players have been the maijn industry association, the Keidranren, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the major government part, the LDP, playing the role of veto-players in Japn's climate policies. Also, environmental NGOs are generally weak in Japan so although there are demands for a more pro-active pollcy in the public, the above suppliers of such policies tend to heed to industry rather than civil society. Although there is now an increased emphasis on renewables, this is from a very low level and nucler energy will probably sonn play a larger role in Japan's energy mix.