Global Warming and East Asia: The Domestic and International Politics of Climate Change

By Paul G. Harris | Go to book overview

8

Development assistance and Japan’s climate change diplomacy

Priorities and future options
Shouchuan (Jusen) Asuka-Zhang
Introduction
In this chapter I discuss the key elements of Japan’s environmental diplomacy in the field of climate change. First, I focus on the role of each key governmental agency in main environmental diplomacy activities. Second, I briefly analyze the negotiation position taken by the Japanese government at the Third and Sixth Conferences of Parties (COP3 and COP6) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). I also examine Japan’s unique position on the use of official development assistance (ODA) (i.e. financial additionality) for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Third, I suggest future options for the Japanese government, such as setting up new institutions for its ODA baseline, an Asian Carbon Fund and a carbon credit purchase tender scheme.Assistance to developing countries in the area of the environment and energy constitutes a part of Japan’s dual goals of promoting environmental conservation and its international diplomacy. On the policy side, for example, Japan volunteered to serve as the Country-Chair of the COP3, held in Kyoto in December 1997. In addition, prior to this conference, the Japanese government presented a set of proposals on international cooperation in the field of climate change - the Kyoto Initiative - which included plans for capacity building and for offering low-interest loans to developing countries. Indeed, Japan places a high priority on environmental cooperation for several political, ethical, and economic reasons (Asuka 1999:553-554):
1 In environmental cooperation and other relatively new areas of international diplomacy, which differ from conventional power politics, Japan may be able to fulfill the role of a technological and political leader in the international community.
2 Even under domestic pressure to revise both the quantity and quality of ODA (due to recent financial stringency), environmental cooperation is a topic that leads to fewer debates on its legitimacy than in other fields because of its “clean” and “soft” image.

Reprinted, by permission, from Transaction Publishers, “Greening and Decarbonizing: Japan’s Development Assistance” by Asuka-Zhang Shouchuan, 18(2).Copyright@2000 by Transaction Publishers.

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