Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


This paper reviews an adaptation plan for the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The Japanese Government decided to remain in the Paris Agreement and began trying to reduce CO2 with technology after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Nuclear power plants were closed, and some are still under safety review. Newly built thermal power plants will increase CO2 emissions, and the battle among the ministries hinders effective adaptation planning.

In 2012, the central government announced three basic approaches: risk management, comprehensive and general planning, and cooperating with local governments. However, the central government’s tactics still fall behind other countries’, and local governments such as prefectures and municipalities continue to need to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. Local governments lack the appropriate information, technology, and budget. In 2018, the Ministry of the Environment released guidelines for local governments to draft adaptation plans. Tokyo established a basic environmental plan in 2008 and made an environmental prediction in 2009. By analyzing comparative administrative law and environmental law perspectives, this paper will review improvements to Japan’s capacity to adapt and the sensibility of the Tokyo Metropolitan Adaptation Plan. Tokyo has several basic policies: establish a smart energy city, encourage the “3Rs” (recycle, reduce, and reuse), and sustainably use resources. The plan might present a good example for other prefectures, just as the State of California has become a model for other parts of the United States.

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