Background and objectives
On 5-6 May 2013 the 15th Tripartite Environmental Ministers Meetings (TEMM15) was held in Kitakyushu, where the three countries engaged in opinion exchange on ten priority areas for environmental cooperation. From 2014, recommendations were made to specifically prioritise the strengthening of policy dialogue, collaborative research and technology cooperation in the areas of green development, green economy, biodiversity, air pollution, yellow sand, and the response to and management of environmental emergencies, considering the close connection between these issues and sustainable development.
Within discussions, Japan expressed the opinion that advances were required to strengthen the management of air pollution, including PM2.5, as well as advances in climate change policy. The three ministers shared acknowledgement of the fact that these initiatives will act as a driving force towards solving environmental problems in North East Asia, as well as on a global scale. Further, in bilateral discussions between the environment ministers of Japan and China held during the same period, Vice Minister Li of China expressed high regard for the environmental cooperation of Japan carried out in the activities of the Sino-Japan Friendship Centre for Environmental Protection, recognising that a close partnership exists in environmental cooperation between Japan and China. Noting the Japan-China Air Pollution Policy Seminar held in Beijing in April 2013, he declared anticipation of further exchange in the future with Japan and Kitakyushu regarding their excellent achievements. Most local governments in Japan experienced serious pollution problems during Japan’s period of rapid economic growth. They have experience in enacting measures to solve air pollution problems, such as controls, assessment and support for businesses, controls on diesel vehicles, establishment of automated monitoring systems for air pollution, joint development of environmental technologies and products with industry, and aid for pollution victims. The experiences and know how stored up by the local governments of Japan could be useful in solving the environmental problems of China that become more serious day by day.
Moreover, climate change mitigation was confirmed to be a key item in discussions at TEMM 15 regarding environmental cooperation to address global-scale issues. Following the earthquake disaster, constraints on Japan’s electric power supply and the vulnerability of large-scale centralised energy systems became apparent. As calls for decentralised energy systems more resilient to disasters arose, activities by local governments to promote energy management have increased. Energy issues are a central component in promoting green growth and the creation of low carbon societies, and the energy management of local governments is worthy of attention.
This report focuses on the energy governance of local governments and air pollution mitigation, recognised as a common issue in the East Asian region. Citing the examples of Kitakyushu and other cities, and conducting comparative research on related national and local government policies, this report aims to provide suggestions to the cities of China and the Republic of Korea engaged in green growth and the creation of low carbon societies.