The UN Seahorse in Japan!
Commemorating the Year of the Ocean
Oceans in Japan's Basic Environmental Plan
The Basic Environmental Plan lays down basic principles and policy direction and provides the basis upon which to implement a comprehensive environmental policy. It was approved by the Japanese Cabinet in 1994. It has set four long term objectives: building a socio-economic system fostering a sound material cycle.; harmonious coexistence between humankind and nature; participation by all sectors of society; and the promotion of international activities. It brings together the government, local governments, the community, and private organizations, including corporate and non-governmental, to achieve these objectives.

With respect to Oceans, particular focus is placed on coastal areas: " ... the outstanding natural environments of coastal seas and coast lines will be conserved appropriately. Tidal flats, seaweed beds, and other coastal environments are to be maintained both for their environmental conservation capacity and as locations for human contact with the marine environments.

Besides coastal areas, the fragility of ocean and marine environments are recognized in calls for its conservation and better understanding of the burdens being imposed on the ocean from land and human activities (eg.: discharges through rivers). Pollution and waste disposal (both deliberate and accidental) from ships and oil tankers are also addressed. These include oil spills, gas discharge, toxic liquid and waste dumping etc. Compensation and security systems for oil spills around the Japan coasts is also called for in the Plan.

A system of monitoring and evaluation, surveys, investigations, new technologies, and research is stressed upon, to combat the environmental problems and pressures related to Oceans.

Conserving the marine environment falls under the larger perspective of conserving the water environment, acknowledging that water circulates in the nature in the form of evaporation, precipitation, seepage, standing bodies (lakes, seas, etc.), and flowing rivers. It calls for an integrated view of conserving the quality and quantity of water, aquatic creatures and waterside areas - and efforts to reduce the burden on the water environment at every stage of water utilization, to protect aquatic ecosystems, and to secure environmental safety.

Several laws deal with conservation, monitoring and development of the marine environment. These cover regulations on effluent from factories, domestic effluent, pollutant load control, countermeasures against entrophication, permit systems for factories, conservation of natural seashore, reclamation, toxic substances, soil quality etc.
  • Basic Environment Law
  • Law Concerning Special Measures for Conservation of Water Quality
  • Law Concerning Special Measures for Conservation of Environment of the Seto Inland Sea
  • Law Relating to the Prevention of Marine Pollution and Maritime Disaster
  • Water Pollution Control Law

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Contact: Hari Srinivas -