The Center for the Advancement of Working Women
(Josei to shigoto no miraikan)
5-35-3 Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0014
Iris Wieczorek (IFA)
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien (Tokyo), Institut für Asienkunde (Hamburg)
Environmental Dialogue Between Civil Society Groups Germany – Japan
February 7, 2006
One-day conference with panel discussion as part of the “Germany in Japan” initiative 2005/2006
Environmental protection is a much-discussed topic. In Japan, Germany is often mentioned as a model for environmental policies in such discussions, but Japan can also give impulses for the German environmental discourse.
The aim of the event was (1) to describe the situation of environmental discourse in Japan and Germany, (2) to promote a dialogue between environmental non-governmental organizations in both countries, and (3) to introduce German experiences and solutions concerning environmental protection to a Japanese audience.
In the morning session, four experts from Germany and Japan introduced the general situation of the environmental movement in both countries as well as specific examples. The afternoon session started with a keynote address by writer Alex Kerr. This was followed by a panel discussion in which the presenters and further specialists considered possibilities for mutual learning between environmental activists in Germany and Japan. In continuous dialogue with the audience, they discussed not only the similarities and differences between both countries as well as transferable strategies, but also the potential for international cooperation between environmentally active citizens.
One focus of the discussion was environmental education. German participants stressed the importance of generating motivation, rather than scaring wavering persons away with pushy demands for environmental correctness. Instead, quoting financial or qualitative benefits resulting from environmentally friendly behavior, such as a reduction in heating costs or the superior taste of ecologically grown fruits, would increase the willingness to support the environment, the German participants argued.
Contrary to this assessment and the cliché in Japan of Germany leading in environmental matters, participants observed a very high motivation in Japan to tolerate even some personal inconveniences for contributing to environmental protection. This could however weaken over the next few years, making it necessary for Japanese environmental groups to look for similar motivation-enhancing strategies.
Accordingly, the participants stressed the need for international cooperation among environmental civil society groups. While not all concepts of environmental policies may be instantly transferable to other countries or cultures, the potential for transnational exchange and concerted action is clearly high. Both specific solutions and general views of the other panelists were taken in with great interest.
The participants also agreed that personal encounters and first-hand experiences in other countries are essential and cannot be substituted by acquiring theoretical knowledge from textbooks.
10:15 - 10:30
10:30 - 11:30
Zwei wissenschaftliche Vorträge zu Umweltschutz und Zivilgesellschaft in Deutschland und Japan
Isono Yayoi, Tokyo Keizai University
Iris Wieczorek, Institut für Asienkunde (Hamburg)
11:45 - 13:15
Präsentationen von NGO-VertreterInnen
Jürgen Forkel-Schubert (ANU Bundesverband Deutschland e.V. )
Sugimoto Ikuo, Kankyō Shimin
14:30 - 15:30