Governing through Voluntarily?: The Japanese Climate Change Policy and the Policy Networks

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:10
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Keiichi SATOH, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan
The voluntary action plan among the industrial groups has been one of the main Japanese Climate change policy. Even though this action does not have any regal background and has no obligation for the commitment, more than 80% of the companies calculated in CO2 amount participated in this action and reduced their emission based on their own target. Why this cooperation among the private companies occurred in the free-market society like Japan?

              We will answer this question from the perspective of constellation of the climate change policy networks in Japan, using the data of COMPON Japan survey collected by the Japanese COMPON team (PI: Koichi Hasegawa, Tohoku University). We interviewed 72 major interest groups being active in Japanese domestic climate change policy formation during 2013 and 2014.

              In order to understand the mechanism of how voluntary action works, we need to set two different levels of analytical viewpoints: Inter-block networks and inner-networks in a block. In the Inter-sectoral network, Japanese climate change policy network can be clustered into three political blocks which share major recognitions, policy preferences and actual ties of cooperation. These three blocks are the Environment Ministry block, the Economic Ministry block, and the peak business organization Keidanren block. Though institutionally the Keidanren block has more privileged position, each sector has almost the same political power. Therefore, the Keidanren block needs to implement the voluntary action plan in order to block other policies proposed by other blocks. The existence of these two powerful blocks also serves for Keidanren to consolidate their inner-ties to protect their collective interest. The form of the inner-network of the Keidanren block is also important. Their vertically connected network prevents the free-riders. However, this network form prevents also those companies appearing which take an initiative by their own interests.