China-Japan-Korea Environmental Symposium—Strategies for Information-Sharing and Cooperation

October 15, 2016

As part of an ongoing Japan-China-Korea initiative, JCIE held a symposium at Peking University in Beijing so that the three countries could share their experiences grappling with environmental problems and discuss strategies for deeper trilateral cooperation.

Dr. Hiroshi Komiyama (President, Mitsubishi Research Institute; former President, University of Tokyo) offered the keynote speech, touching on Japan’s successful efforts to battle pollution from the 1950s to the 1980s, and calling for the use of innovation to help build a new, sustainable society.

Yasuyo Yamazaki, CEO of Kuni Umi Asset Management, and Liu Li Hui, Director of the International Technology Transfer & Implementation Center at Beijing PROTECHT Environmental Technology Ltd., offered a business perspective on the environment and energy, introducing their companies’ initiatives.

The subsequent panel discussion examined South Korea’s environmental issues and recent policy shifts, particularly in light of the movements among academics and civil society groups to abandon nuclear energy after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. It was noted that grassroot-level partnerships among civil society actors are important in this regard, rather than just cooperation at the government level.

They also discussed China’s air pollution, which involves fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and is thus more challenging than the sulfur dioxide pollution faced several decades ago. As a result, the response must go beyond just the industrial sector and must engage people in efforts to reduce pollution in their daily lives. It was noted that China needs to learn from other countries in terms of technology, but also in terms of policy know-how. Dr. Mei Feng Qiao, an associate professor of environment process studies at Peking University, noted that he takes students on study trips to Japan each year. Dr. Komiyama noted that through various measures, China has begun to lower the PM2.5 indices, and suggested that Japan, China, and Korea could effectively work together to share their knowledge and insight with India and countries in Africa that are in the process of industrializing and could benefit from the experiences of these nations.