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Japan's New Action Plan towards a Global Zero Waste Society

"Japan's New Action Plan for Accelerating the Establishment of Sound Material-Cycle Societies Internationally through the 3Rs"
(tentative translation)
Kobe, Japan, 25, 2008

1. Introduction

With the advancement of economic and social activities and globalization, the world, including both developed and developing countries, is now faced with the double challenge of increasingly serious waste problems, as well as soaring prices for, and an unstable supply of, resources. These challenges are closely linked with a rising environmental burden, including climate change impacts caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Therefore, both developed and developing countries are expected to efficiently utilize the earth's limited resources and reduce the impact on the environment through the domestic and international circulation of resources by promoting environmentally sound waste management and the 3Rs. As members of the international community, we must also collaborate and cooperate to integrate activities that aim to establish sound material cycle societies with those that establish low carbon and nature harmonious societies, always aiming at the establishment of a sustainable society.

Under the 3R Initiative, which was proposed by Japan and agreed upon at the G8 Sea Island Summit in the United States in 2004, the importance of the promotion of the 3Rs has been widely recognized. Concrete 3R practices have advanced not only within each G8 member country, but also in countries in Asia through collaboration and cooperation promoted by Japan and international organizations. Taking the opportunity of the G8 Environment Ministers Meeting in Kobe in May 2008, which addressed the need for further action to promote the 3Rs, Japan is announcing a new Action Plan for Global Zero Waste Societies, thereby demonstrating Japan's determination to support the establishment of sound material cycle societies internationally.

2. Japan's Fundamental Position on the International Promotion of the Establishment of Sound Material-Cycle Societies

Based on the 2nd Fundamental Plan for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society, which was decided by a Cabinet meeting in March 2008, Japan decided to further enhance activities to establish a sound material-cycle society domestically. Under this Fundamental Plan, Japan will take a leading role in the international promotion of the establishment of sound material-cycle societies by disseminating state-of-the-art mechanisms, advanced technologies and systems, and Japan's experiences in activities by and collaboration with stakeholders. In so doing Japan will promote the 3Rs and environmentally sound waste management in an integrated manner, taking the protection of intellectual property rights, as well as the circumstances in individual countries, into account.

To promote the establishment of sound material-cycle societies internationally through the 3Rs, Japan's fundamental position is as follows: first, build a sound material cycle society in each country by promoting environmentally sound waste management and the 3Rs; at the same time, prevent illegal trade in waste; and, after sufficiently implementing these first two steps, promote smoother international trade in recyclable resources as a supplement to the domestic circulation of resources.

Based on this fundamental position, Japan will take the following actions:

3. Specific Actions

  1. Support the integrated promotion of environmentally sound waste management and the 3Rs based on country-specific needs
    1. Support the development of strategies and policy dialogues in line with the needs of each country
    2. Development of human resources
    3. Integrated activities for policy planning, and institutional and infrastructure development
    4. Utilization of knowledge and experience of local governments and private businesses and other stakeholders
    5. Strengthening knowledge and information bases
    6. Development of mechanisms to promote international cooperation in Japan
  2. Contribute to Global Warming Countermeasures through Environmentally Sound Waste Management and the 3Rs
  3. Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes
  4. Actions to Establish a Sound Material Cycle Society at Regional Level in Asia
  5. Collaborate with G8 Member Countries, International Organizations and Networks to Create a Global Sound Material-Cycle Society

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Source: Ministry of the Environment (Japan)

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