A report on Japan’s Ecological Footprint, which identifies leading areas of ecological demand and offers policy recommendations to address them, has generated considerable interest in the country. The Japan Ecological Footprint Report was released this August in Tokyo to an audience of journalists and environment ministry representatives. Findings have been covered by more than 50 print and online news outlets, including a feature in Asahi, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 8.22 million.
Among the report’s findings (based on 2009 National Footprint Accounts data):
Japan’s Ecological Footprint in 2006 was 4.1 gha per capita, about one and a half times the global average, placing it within the highest 25 percent of countries.
Compared with the four countries closest geographically, only Russia’s Footprint exceeds Japan’s (by a small margin). Japan’s per capita Footprint is 10 percent higher than South Korea’s and more than double that of China. However, Japan is the only country in the group to have shown a significant decrease in the Footprint over the last decade. If trends continue, 2010 may well see South Korea’s Footprint surpass that of Japan.
Japan’s production of fisheries products exceeds the available biocapacity from Japan’s continental shelf by more than a factor of three. This strongly suggests that Japan may be at risk of collapsing its fisheries, and with effects that will be felt worldwide.
Japan’s demand on forest products is well within the rate of what its forests can regenerate. At the same time, it places a high demand for wood products on countries that are experiencing deforestation, such as Indonesia. Replacing imports with domestic supply would have positive international impacts.
Read the report in English (15 MB download)
Read the report in Japanese (18 MB download)
Read the Asahi article (in Japanese)
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