In the morning of December 11th, 2020, the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Organization (JICA) organized a seminar titled “the environmental issues of Japan and related policies” for full-time students in K71 advanced political theory classes at the Academy. Mr. Yasuhiro Kasuya, member of environmental group, JICA Vietnam Office, was the key speaker of the seminar.
Overview of the seminar
Speaking at the seminar, Mr. Yasuhiro Kasuya affirmed that currently the environmental issue is no longer a problem of a country or a region, but has become a global issue, requiring the cooperation and efforts of all people, all countries. Therefore, he hoped that through the experiences of Japan in policies and practices, Vietnam would have suitable policy directions to ensure the harmony between economic development benefits and environmental protection.
Mr. Yasuhiro Kasuya said that since 1868 when implementing the Meiji reform with the policy “Enrich the country, strengthen the army", the Japanese economy had strong growth, but that was also the beginning of environmental issues. Especially, after the war from 1955 to 1973, within about 20 years, Japan always achieved an average annual economic growth rate of over 10% (actually). Along with that was the increase in energy consumption and the formation of large industrial complexes, the beginning of issues on air pollution, water pollution, waste problems from exhaust gas, wastewater and waste from thermal power stations and petrochemical plants.
Pollution from industrial production has resulted in 4 serious diseases, including Minamata disease, Minamata disease in Niigata (2nd Minamata disease), asthma in Yokkaichi city and “itai itai” disease (a disease caused by cadmium poisoning that causes softening of the bones and kidney failure. Soon after, localities with large industrial parks such as Tokyo issued the regulations on pollution prevention and signed the agreements on pollution prevention. On the State side, in 1958 it promulgated the Law on the prevention of water pollution. Thanks to the efforts of people like Hashimoto, Yamanouchi, Japan has legislated the regulations to prevent pollution. In 1967, Japan enacted the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control (the general pollution prevention law). Until 1970, at the 64th session of the National Assembly, Japan enacted and amended 14 laws related to the prevention and fighting against environmental pollution, Mr. Yasuhiro Kasuya shared.
Mr Yasuhiro Kasuya delivered the speech at the seminar
According to Mr. Yasuhiro Kasuya, although in 1956 the Japanese Government officially discovered the great effects of environmental pollution caused by industrial production on human health, until 1967 it launched the unified perspective and approve legislation on this issue, because of concealment and protest from the companies, the collusion of local authorities and profiteers in industrial manufacturing companies, as well as differences in assessments and comments of scientists, central ministries. Therefore, in order to reach a consensus among the parties, it is necessary to be consistent and make the concerned people "enlightened", building up the commitment of the parties in environmental protection; coordinating with many experts in the relevant fields, clarifying issues based on knowledge mobilization, cooperating with management agencies; promoting scientific investigative research, publishing transparent and public data.
From Japanese experience and practice, Mr. Yasuhiro Kasuya emphasized that, in fact, the policy of preventing and controlling environmental pollution from industries in Japan has contributed to improving the efficiency of economic development. Especially, Japan's strict regulations on motor vehicles emissions have promoted competition and motivated Japanese car manufacturers to develop technologies and meet even the most stringent environmental standards of difficult markets such as the US and Europe to boost their exports to these markets.
Mr. Yasuhiro Kasuya believed that, with the cooperation carried out between the two countries on this issue, Japan and Vietnam in general, the partners of the two countries in particular would continue to work together closely to protect Mother Earth. He wished that each individual and organization would change themselves and consciously protect the environment in each of their actions. Because the administrative policy or the new law is not just the change of the policy or the law itself, it must be the result of the people themselves changing their habits and behaviours./
Author: Duc Manh, M.H