Sustainability: Japan took its first steps a decade ago

Sustainability: Japan took its first steps a decade ago

Japan took its first steps a decade ago

As natural resources dwindle and the effects of climate change are felt, governments and businesses are looking at how to be sustainable. The Straits Times looks at the state of sustainable development in Singapore, Japan and Indonesia.

Kwan Weng Kin Japan Correspondent In Tokyo RESOURCE-POOR Japan moved to develop sustainable businesses more than a decade ago, before the term became a universal buzzword.

In 1992, then premier Kiichi Miyazawa became the first Japanese leader to call for a sustainable society, in a policy speech delivered a few months before the first Rio Earth Summit, which focused world attention on the importance of sustainable development.

Japan's attempt to meet the emission reduction target of 6 per cent provided for in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and increasing social awareness of environmental issues thanks to the work of non-profit organisations (NPOs), led to moves by Japanese companies to develop sustainable businesses around the turn of this century.

Many major companies invested in sustainable innovation. Panasonic, Japan's largest electronics maker, produces hydrogen fuel-cell generators and has increased the proportion of recycled materials used in its products. It is also the largest maker of rechargeable batteries in the world.

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