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Type: Thesis
Title: The ethics of Japan’s global environmental policy.
Author: Kagawa-Fox, Midori
Issue Date: 2010
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: This thesis examines several Japanese government policies that impact on the environment in order to determine whether they incorporate a sufficient ethical substance. Japan built its domestic environmental policy on the experiences of combating its catastrophic post war pollution crises; these crises were created as the result of the country’s relentless drive towards becoming a world economic super-power. As with many other countries, global environmental issues are an important agenda in governments’ policies and from the late 1980s the Japanese government incorporated global initiatives into its domestic environmental directives. Since that time climate change issues have become a focal point of Japan’s environmental policies, and by the 1990s the country had by means of regulations moved from being one of the world’s most polluted countries, to one that had become one of the world’s most environmentally responsible. However, Japan’s economic success from the 1980s led to mounting criticism over its overseas business practices, practices that discounted the value of the ecosystems of its trading partners. In the enquiry into the ethics of the policies, this thesis explores how Western philosophers combined their theories to develop a ‘Western environmental ethics code’; the thesis also reveals the existence of a unique ‘Japanese environmental ethics code’ built on Japan’s cultural traditions, religious practices, and empirical experiences. The discovery of the distinctive Japanese code is not only important for what it discloses as a new philosophy, but most importantly how it can be used to analyse the ethical framework of the Japanese policies. In spite of the positive contributions that Japan has shown towards the global environment, the government has failed to show a corresponding moral obligation to the world ecology in its global environmental policy. The policies examined in the three case studies comprising whaling, nuclear energy, and forestry, have also been found wanting in ecological ethical considerations, both from a Western and Japanese perspective. The main reason for this is that the integrity of the policies has been compromised by Japanese vested interest groups; business and political interests ensure that the policies are primarily focused on maintaining sustainable economic growth. Whilst Japan’s global environmental policy initiatives are the key to its economic survival into the 21st century, and these initiatives may achieve their aim, they do however fail the Japanese code of environmental ethics.
Advisor: Jain, Purnendra Chandra
Doyle, Timothy John
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2010
Keywords: ethics; environment; Japan
Provenance: Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide Library for full text.
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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