Current Issues

Waste management
Global warming
Main article: Climate change in Japan
As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, and host of the 1997 conference which created it, Japan is under treaty obligations to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions level by 6% less than the level in 1990[6] and to take other steps related to curbing climate change. Japan is the world?s fifth biggest emission emitter. The Cool Biz campaign introduced under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was targeted at reducing energy use through the reduction of air conditioning use in government offices.

Densely packed buildings in Tokyo.

Nuclear policy
See also: Nuclear power in Japan
Japan maintains one third of its electric production from nuclear power plants. While majorities of citizens generally support the use of existing nuclear reactors, some raise objections against the plan to construct further plants.

The treatment of radioactive wastes also became a subject of discussion in Japan. New spent-nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant was constructed in Rokkasho in 2008, the site of the underground nuclear-waste repository for the HLW and LLW has not yet decided. Some local cities announced a plan to conduct an environmental study at the disposal site, but citizens' groups oppose strongly against the plan.

Fishery and whaling
Main articles: Fishing industry in Japan and Whaling in Japan
In the Japanese diets, fish and its products are more prominent than meat. Because of the depletion of ocean stocks in the late 20th century, Japan's total annual fish catch has been diminishing rapidly. Japan, along with the United States and the European Union, occupies the large part of international fish trade. Japanese fish catches were the third in the world in 2000, following China and Peru. The United States, Chile, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and India were other major countries.

By 2004, the number of adult Atlantic bluefin tuna capable of spawning had plummeted to roughly 19 percent of the 1975 level in the western half of the ocean. Japan has a quarter of the world supply of the five big species: bluefin, southern bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin and albacore.

After the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, Japanese government started its whaling for research purposes the following year. This whaling program has been criticized by environmental protection groups and anti-whaling countries, who say that the program was not for scientific researches.

Urban planning
The massive nationwide rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of World War II, and the development of the following decades, led to even further urbanization and construction. The construction industry in Japan is one of its largest, and while Japan maintains a great many parks and other natural spaces, even in the hearts of its cities, there are few major restrictions on where and how construction can be undertaken. Alex Kerr, in his books "Lost Japan" and "Dogs & Demons",[12] is one of a number of authors who focuses heavily on the environmental problems related to Japan's construction industry, and the industry's lobbying power preventing the introduction of stricter zoning laws and other environmental protection efforts.


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