How adaptive policies are in Japan and can adaptive policies mean effective policies? Some Implications for Governing Climate Change Adaptation

Event: 8th International Conference of NAPSIPAG 2011
Date: 15 - 16 December 2011

It has been widely regarded that policies and institutions that are adaptive in nature are better able to deal with the dynamic issues such as environmental degradation and climate change adaptation. However, verifying the veracity of this hypothesis is difficult often due to absence of long experience in climate change adaptation in most countries in general and with developed countries in particular. Hence, this study, which is based on a country study of agriculture policies in Japan, reviews how various agriculture related policies have evolved over the years along with the evolving issues that they are designed to address and tries to answer questions such as how adaptive policies and institutions in Japan are, how adaptive policies and institutions relate to the effectiveness of policies and problem solving, and what are the political, institutional, economic and social enabling factors that may lead to effective policies. This paper is derived from a set of consultations and pilot Delphi questionnaire surveys conducted in Japan. While addressing the above research questions, this study aims to draw lessons for developing countries which often lookup towards developed countries for solutions. One of the interesting outcome of this study has been that indicators such as ‘timeliness’ of introduction of policies and ‘regular amendment’ of policies may not necessarily translate into effective policies since other factors such as how different stakeholders understand the issue that policy intends to address, understanding on the part of the governments and institutions on how a policy works on the ground after it is designed and implemented, information based on which policies were designed are the most important driving factors that determines the effectiveness of any policy.