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Green Tax Reform

About Green Tax Reform Program
Taxes we paid are too often used to finance public projects, which, far from addressing the existing environmental problems, burden the environment and cause even more environmental damage. For example, despite criticism from the citizens and NGOs, a lot of the spending still goes to excessive constructions of public utilities, adding to the environmental burden and energy demand.

On the other hand, compared to EU countries that have already introduced various kinds of environmental taxes, in Japan, environmental considerations are hardly integrated into the making of fiscal policies. The introduction of fiscal instruments, such as carbon taxes, is still under examination. So far the progress toward the introduction of carbon taxes and other kinds of environmental taxes has been rather slow. To accelerate the process, it would not only require the efforts of the Ministry of Environment, but also the collaborative efforts of other ministries, political parties, businesses and industries and NGOs.

Two aspects
A green tax reform is a structural change of the existing fiscal system (both on the national- and regional-level) from the environmental perspective. It entails the following two aspects:

(1) Revise the existing fiscal system that has little concern for the environment
(e.g. cease funding for public projects that cause destruction of the environment)

(2) Use fiscal instrument to address environmental problems
(e.g. introduce carbon taxes and other environmental taxes, strengthening environment-related spending)

A comprehensive fiscal reform that integrates these two aspects would bring structual change to the existing social and economic system. This is crucial for the construction of a sustainable society.

Besides, a change in the policymaking process is also required to facilitate the green tax reform. The current policymaking process tends to represent the industries and certain special interest groups only. Voice of the citizens should be heard in the policymaking process.

The green tax reform requires the cooperation among ministries, participation of diet members and industry representatives, sharing of information between NGOs and policymakers, and most importantly, the involvement of citizens in the process..


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