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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Global Climate Policy: The Role of Japan

September 20, 2001 / 6.30 P.M.

Kawashima Yasuko, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba

The resumed session of the 6th Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Bonn, in late July 2001. At the meeting, Japan attracted attention from all over the world, as well as from citizens in Japan. Why did that happen? In what circumstance is Japan standing at this moment? What is the role of Japan in the global climate policy? Answers to these questions lie in Japan’s decision-making process on climate change. Decision making on climate change policy has long been a complicated mixture of environment policy, energy policy, economic policy and foreign policy. There has currently been, however, a dynamic change in the decision making process itself in Japan. Final decision making has been slowly shifting from governmental officials (Kasumigaseki) to politicians (Naikaku). The talk briefly introduces what has happened at COP6-bis meeting in Bonn last July, how Japan responded at the meeting, and raises some important factors that lies behind Japan’s decision making on climate change. It is concluded that Japan will continue to take mediator?. (Bs role between the U.S. and the EU, and that Japan may well take positions farther away from the U.S. position that it used to take. This change will be caused mainly due to shift of decision-making power from governmental officials to politicians.

Short CV: Kawashima Yasuko

Yasuko Kawashima has been working for the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) since 1992. Her areas of research are climate change negotiation at international level, comparative studies of countries’ decision-making processes on climate change, and linkage between domestic and international levels of climate change policy.
She has published a number of articles on climate change politics both in Japanese and English, including Japans decision- making about climate change problems: comparative study of decisions in 1990 and in 1997 (Environmental Economics and Policy Studies Vol.3 No.1, 2000, pp.29-57).
She was a visiting scholar at Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland in 1999-2000. She received her Ph.D. from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1997.


Short CV: Detlef Sprinz

Detlef F. Sprinz is Senior Fellow at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Department of Global Change ∓ Social Systems, Potsdam, Germany. He is member of the European Academy, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, and its study group on climate change, and has been Co-Founder and Partner of the Ecologic – Institute for International and European Environmental Policy in Berlin, Germany. At the University of Potsdam he is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. After completing his M.A. in Economics at the University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany, in 1986, Mr. Sprinz received his Ph.D. in Political Science from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1992. The title of his dissertation was “Why Countries Support International Environmental Agreements: The Regulation of Acid Rain in Europe.” Mr. Sprinz has written various articles on the topic of international environmental policy (International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Political Science Review, Climatic Change, Journal of Environment & Development, International Studies Notes). He has followed the international negotiations on “Climate Change” ever since the “Framework Convention on Climate Change” has been adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. More detailed information can be found at