The Ministry of Environment (MOE) of Japan was formed in 2001 from the former Environmental Agency established in 1971. MOE is responsible for government-wide environmental planning and policies under the Basic Environmental Law of 1993.
MOE promotes policies towards establishing a sustainable society. MOE takes a lead and play a proactive role in promoting environmental policies across the government through the implementation of the basic environment plan. MOE aims to promotes policies for waste management, pollution control, nature conservation, and wildlife protection on its own, and to promote in collaboration with other line ministries measures to address global warming, ozone layer protection, recycling, chemical management, marine pollution control, forest/vegetated land/river/lake-wetland conservation, environmental impact assessment and the monitoring of radioactive substance.
MOE implements a wide range of environmental laws including the Law on the Promotion of Measures to Cope with Global Warming of 1998 and the Basic Act for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society of 2000. MOE has pioneered the market-based mechanisms to promote assured and cost-effective green house gases emission reductions. MOE has launched the Japan Voluntary Emissions Trading Scheme (JVETS) in 2005 and implements a policy mix that includes government subsidy to install facilities for emission reductions, third-party verification of emissions, and trading of surplus emission credits.
To expand the scope of environmental cooperation and to develop human resources, MOE conduct training courses for experts and staff members of the central and local governments from both Japan and foreign countries through the National Environmental Research and Training Institute (NETI). MOE also promotes research and technology development through various institutes and programmes. The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) conducts studies on environmental conservation technologies and provides support for research on global environmental conservation. MOE supports the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) for conducting pragmatic and innovative strategic policy research for promoting sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. The other research programmes that MOE support for promoting international environmental cooperation includes the Asia – Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) that aims to foster global change research and strengthen interactions between the scientific community and policy makers.
Presently, MOE has more than 1,200 staff and operates 7 regional offices in addition to the central office in Tokyo.
Japan MOE has been a member of AECEN since 2006 and officially represented by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in AECEN.