Adopted in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol ﬁnally came into force on 16 February 2005. With each country’s national interests at stake, it took seven years of intense international negotiations to iron out the details of operational rules and measures for implementation. Policy-makers concerned with relative gains and losses sought to avoid placing their country in an unfavorable situation vis-à-vis other countries (Grieco 1990; Barrett 2003). Although Japan is ﬁrmly committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, concerns with the absolute gain of mitigating global climate change are now being contested more overtly than previously by industries concerned with relative loss and gain. Regarding post-Kyoto negotiations, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
headed his government’s eﬀort to include in the communiqué issued at the 2007 Heiligendamm G8 Summit the statement referring to a long-term reduction objective of greenhouse gas emissions, based on his policy initiative “Cool Earth 50.” The statement reads: “We will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050.”1 This paved the way for Japan to play a signiﬁcant leadership role at the G8 Summit at Lake Toya (Toyako) in Hokkaido in Japan in July 2008. The G8 Toyako Summit was to conclude a series of policy dialogues that began with the G8 Gleneagles Summit in the UK in 2005 with leaders of the G8 and major developing countries. As the chair of the G8 Toyako Summit, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda,
whose Cabinet has been suﬀering from low approval ratings in the mid-20th and low 30th per centile, was eager to achieve a substantial commitment from all the major GHG-emitting nations including the United States and China. The ﬁnal agreement, however, fell short of obtaining a ﬁrm and explicit commitment with regard to 50 per cent reduction by 2050. The ﬁnal text of the Summit Declaration had to settle with: “We seek to share with all Parties to the UNFCCC the vision of … the goal of achieving at least 50 per cent reduction of global emissions by 2050, … by the contributions from all major economies.”2 However, the G8 Toyako Summit could not agree to setting up a mid-term numerical reduction target. Instead, the Japanese
of in Declaration, namely, sectoral or bottom-up approaches, which call on industries such as steel and cement manufacturing across borders to make CO2 emission reductions through technological innovation under a voluntary reduction scheme, diﬀering according to each industrial sector. Since its success in substantially mitigating industrial pollution problems
and in weathering two oil crises in the 1970s, Japan has taken the lead in developing technologies for pollution abatement and energy eﬃciency. Regarding the mitigation of climate change, it has maintained a technological lead, for instance, in developing and commercializing hybrid cars and solar panels. In addition, due to its “no-war clause” of the Constitution, which renounces war as a sovereign right of a nation and prohibits the use of armed forces in the settlement of international disputes, Japan has a strong domestic political incentive to play a leading role in international issues such as global climate change that do not involve military confrontation. Thus, it is quite natural that many in the world expect Japan to play a leading role in climate-change negotiations. Indeed, Japan, jointly with European countries, took the lead during negotiations for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, even though Japan hosted the Kyoto Conference (COP3) in 1997 and contributed to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, since then it has been reluctant to grasp the initiative once more. Rather it has become allied increasingly with the countries that maintain cautious attitudes toward international climate change negotiations by assigning itself the role of mediator between the United States and the European Union. Thus, the set of questions is why Japan has become increasingly reluctant to take a leadership role in climate change negotiations despite its technological lead which can generate economic gains, steady public support, and a strong political incentive mentioned above. This chapter attempts to answer this question by analyzing Japanese foreign policy on climate change from the perspective of the interaction between domestic politics and international relations. After introducing the basic theoretical framework that presents some
plausible hypotheses to explain the aforementioned questions, I will brieﬂy reconstruct the major stories on Japanese global climate change policy with particular focus on the domestic political sources of international relations, particularly with regard to the politics and international negotiations relating to the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and post-Kyoto Protocol negotiations.
Robert Putnam’s analytical framework of two-level games (Putnam 1988) is useful in studying the interaction between international and domestic politics. Governmental negotiators work out a tentative agreement and each country’s constituents decide whether to ratify it or not. Thus, the domestic