National Adaptation Policy and Its Influence on Local Practice: Climate Change Adaptation Act, Japan

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Yoshimi Fukumura (Japan) 1; Kazutaka Oka (Japan) 1; Yasuaki Hijioka (Japan) 1

1 - National Institute for Environmental Studies

Japan formulated its first national adaptation plan in 2015. For the purpose of its promotion, National Institute for Environmental Studies, JAPAN (NIES) launched an adaptation information website A-PLAT in the following year. Thanks to these events, the necessity of adaptation is increasingly being recognized nationwide. Finally, Climate change adaptation act (the Act) will be enforced in December 2018. The Act specifies functions, stating that NIES is to support local adaptation centres. This study explores the expected roles of NIES.

The act comprises of four chapters: Chapter 1 General provisions, Chapter 2 Climate change adaptation plan, Chapter 3 Promotion of climate change adaptation, and Chapter 4 Supplementary Provisions. The roles of NIES is specified in Chapter 3, and Article 1 of the chapter states that NIES shall collect and analyse climate information necessary for adaptation activities and provide it while supporting local government and local adaptation centres in developing local adaptation plan and measures by providing technical advice.

A-PLAT has partly borne the responsibility of Article 1 of Chapter 3: collecting, analysing, and providing information through A-PLAT. Since its launch, A-PLAT gains increasing number of access that reaches about 25,000 page-views per month as of 2018. The site offers observed climate data and recognized impacts as well as projected climate and impacts. Such information is welcomed by local governments since collecting data and arranging it according to their needs is difficult due to lack of knowledge and capacity. To reinforce local adaptation research, the Act encourages municipalities to establish its own local adaptation centre. Although the act allows regions to have such centre jointly with neighbouring prefectures, these municipalities have struggled to recruit appropriate experts.

In Japan, each prefecture has its research centre, but most of their expertise used to be pollution. Some prefectures who are fortunate to have climate experts in its centre utilize research output of national projects such as climate models and impact assessments to consider effective adaptation measures, and they implement such measures into practice/its policies. To fill the gap, the Act specifies that NIES shall assist local centres thus support local government in developing local adaptation plan. NIES is expected to support local government in establishing and operating of local adaptation centres. For a start, NIES is holding a workshop for local officials to consider and define the roles, scope and functions of a desirable local adaptation centre.