Access to EnvironmentalInformation in JAPANAarhus Net in JapanMasami KittakaApril 29, 2013STRIPE at Jakarta
Aarhus Net• An NGO network to realize Aarhus Conventionin Japan• Established in Oct. 2003• Members: Lawyers, Scholars, NGOs• http://www.aarhusjapan.org/index.html• Activities• Translation of the convention text• Publication of brochure about theconvention• Advocacy• Study meetings• Dialogue with governments
Access to Government Information Act• Legislation National Level: Enacted in 2001 Local Level: 99.7 % of local governments haveinformation-disclosure ordinances• Fee (National level) 300 yen ( US$3) + 10 yen/page for photocopy≒90% wasdisclosed2009 2010 2011 2009 2010 2011Number of disclosure (National level)National governmentAll Part No All Part NoIndependentAdministrative Agency
Period ： Jan. 31 – Feb. 18, 2013Method ： By InternetScope ： Non profit organization all over JapanResponses ： 475 of 3,516 organizations(Response rate:13.5%)Questionnaire to Environmental NGOsある, 66.3%ない, 33.7%あるないNo YESHave received governmentalfund?ある, 42.9%ない, 57.1%あるないNoYESHave contract with governments?
Questions about Information Env. Disclosure知っている,87.7%知らない,1 2.3%知っている知らないKnow Information Disclosure Act?ある, 1 0.9%ない, 89.1%あるないEver requested inform based onInformation Disclosure Act?64.8%1 2.8%1 6.2%1 2.3%2.6%1 0.7%1 1 .2%1 1 .7%0.0% 25.0% 50.0% 75.0%特に情報公開で得たい情報がないからどのような情報が得られるか分からないから具体的にどのような手続きを取ればよいか分からないから手続きが煩雑そうだから費用がかかりそうだから時間がかかりそうだから手続きをとっても、情報が出てくると思えないからその他YESNoNoYESWhy not use the Act?There is no information thatmust be obtained by the actDon’t know what kind of infocan be obtainedDon’t know how to use itSeems to difficultSeems to cost muchSeems to take timeNo expectation of disclosureOthersOthers:•Able to obtain info.without using the act•Able to ask the gov. stafffor necessary info.•Afraid to jeopardize therelationship with thegovernment
Other Comments on Information Disclosure• Not easy process for lay persons• No clear standard for disclosure• Requirement for disclosure is too strict• Hard to identify the documents to bedisclosed• Government can become selective towhom the info is disclosed.• Government asks reason for disclosure• Disclosed with lots of black out ofinformation
Limit of “Access to Information Act”in comparison with the Aarhus Convention• Disclosing organs Limited to governmental organs Private companies providing public services (utility,waste management and etc.) are not included.• Exemption of disclosure Information on emissions of private companies could bean exemption due to protect confidentiality ofcommercial and industrial information
Disclosure on CO2 Emission CaseNO!GovernmentFactory• Companies report consumption of energy amount by itsfactories to Ministry of Economy, trade and Industry (METI)based on the law on the “energy saving law”.• An Environmental NGO requested disclosure of reporteddata by factories on the Act• Judgment by Supreme Court (Oct. 14, 2011)• Disclosure may threaten the competitiveness of thecompanies.• The data is not necessary to protect human health andlife.
Nishiyodogawa Air Pollution Case• Nishiyodogawa: Industrial Area• Plainttifs: 726 Pollution ( 1st-4thgroups)Slogan “we want to leave a blue sky to our children”• Defendants: 10 major companies + Japanese Government+ Highway management company• Duration: 21 years (1978-1998)• Compensation: 3.99 billion yen (Settlement for 1stlawsuit in 1995)1.5 of 3.99 billion is used for renewal of community3.99 billion yen US$ 40 million≒• The Aozora (=blue sky) Foundation was established in 1996http://aozora.or.jp/nishiyodogawakougaiFirst Hearing in 1978 Judgment (1stinstance for 1stgroup) in 19916000 people marched to the court house.
Environmental information in Nishiyodogawa casehttp://aozora.or.jp/nishiyodogawakougai/9.html• Discovery of victims by local doctors• Medical survey in collaboration withschool doctors• Questionnaires by victims’ group• Various Scholars assistance• Scientific data on the airstream• Analysis of statistical data• Estimate on emission from thecorporations• Historical back ground• Publication of defendants• Statement of victims• Media coverageNishiyodogawa in 1962Severe air pollution since 1960’s“Shopping mall of pollution diseases”Lack of sense of human rights amongresidents