chapter  5
34 Pages

From Heat to Light?: Japan’s Changing Response to Global Warming

ByJeffrey P. Broadbent

In climate change negotiations, Japan moved from a reluctant player in the 1980s to increasing involvement through the 1990s. In global politics, nation-states face a two-level game: demands from the domestic polity and pressures from the international system. From the late 1980s to the early 2000s, Japanese state response moved through four phases: reluctance and resistance, symbolic response, domestic policy preparation and institution building, and finally an independent global policy engagement. In the "reluctant partner" phase, global warming had not yet become socially "constructed" as a problem in Japan. In the "first steps" phase, the concept of global warming attained definitive international recognition as a serious problem at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development Conference in Rio. Important structural and ideological changes in Japan's domestic political regime enabled a deeper recognition of global warming as a problem. A number of factors led Japan to take a more active international role in global warming negotiations.