Outline of the Summary and Issues Review

Picture Toshio Watanabe

Toshio Watanabe
  • Dean, Faculty of International Development, Takushoku University

No matter what element you look at--air pollution, water pollution or solid waste--China's environmental situation today is a grave one. Unless considerable political effort is focused on improving this situation, the occurrence of irreparable tragic conditions throughout the entire territory of China will be unavoidable.

Looking at air pollution for example, the efficiency of coal energy use in China is extremely low as a consequence of its use of outdated equipment and facilities, and the amount of coal consumption needed for unit production cannot help but be huge. Chinese coal also has a generally high sulfur content. As a result, China's sulfur oxide emissions are already above permissible levels and cases of acid rain and harmful health effects constantly occur.

This kind of air pollution is spreading throughout China's vast territory, and Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) cannot possibly solve the entire problem. If limited ODA resources are spread too thinly, then their effect will also disperse like smoke. The only way ahead in the future is to concentrate investment of ODA resources into only those regions that should receive it, and create a mechanism to spread the feasible environmental conservation system to surrounding cities.
This is the idea behind the formation plan of the Japan-China Environmental Development Model City.

This plan involves designating cities that are typically representative of the state of air pollution in China as model cities, and Japan and China working together on carrying out environmental measures for these cities. More specifically, steps will be taken on creating the ideal mix of environmental measures with the conversion of fuel to cleaner energy, introducing energy conservation technologies and transferring pollution sources away from cities, while also developing by-product recycling, environmental monitoring and human resource development. The model city plan does not seek to respond to individual environmental pollution sources. Rather, its main thrust is the creation of mechanisms to disperse the environmental conservation systems of the model cities to neighboring areas.

In the future, I believe there will inevitably be a shift in the focus of ODA resources in order to encourage cooperation on environmental conservation. It might also be desirable for ODA to be provided along new lines, with Japan working in cooperation with other countries in the provision of assistance to third countries, also called Coordinated ODA.

Back to Top