Environmental tax in Japan

Japan for Sustainability notes that a majority (77.7 percent) of the Japanese public responds favorably to the idea of an environmental tax to be imposed on fossil fuels in the fight against global warming, the Ministry of the Environment reported on December 5, 2005:

The amount of tax amount per household per month would be equivalent to the price of a cup of coffee (180 yen). Collecting even such a small amount of tax from households and companies could support, for example, improvement of 5.2 million hectares of forest, 500,000 solar power plants, 1,820 wind generators, 900,000 eco-friendly houses, 33,000 eco-friendly buildings or 35,000 low emission vehicles.

OECD has a database with reports about green taxes: Economic instruments, like taxes and tradable permits, are environmentally effective and economically efficient policy instruments. OECD has long advocated for a consistent use of these instruments and has carried out extensive analysis of their implementation.

However, Japan's Ministry of Environment has met strong resistance from other ministries and the business community, forcing the headquarters to backpedal on earlier plans and to say only that the government will "consider earnestly" the introduction of a green tax, according to International Environment Reporter:

In a prepared statement, Nippon Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) Chairman Hiroshi Okuda, who also is chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., said Japanese industry will "make the best effort in achieving the 'Keidanren environment voluntary plan' to reduce office, business, and transport sector GHG emissions [but] we remained opposed to the introduction of an environmental tax because it would rob the industry of resources for technological innovations and capital expenditures and sap economic vigor."

In 2001, Sweden launched a 10-year "environmental tax shift". It is designed to convert revenue from income taxes to environmentally destructive activities. The average household has seen its income tax bill reduced by around 100,000 Yen annually. The Swedish government is also using green taxes on vehicles and fuel as a central measure of Sweden's plan to be free of oil use by 2025.

Comments

Anyone interested in green tax issues in the United States might be interested in one of the articles here:

http://about.wri.org/wridigest_print.cfm?cid=4017
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the link to the World Resources Institute. The policy reports from WRI and the Brookings Institute seem very interesting. Much appreciated!

- Martin

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