Environmental Damage Remediation in Japan: A Comparative Assessment
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This article presents the birth and evolution of the legal framework governing the compensation for environmental damage in Japan along with a comparative assessment.
Legal systems cope with environmental pollution in many ways, and notions of environmental damage differ across the globe. This has an obvious effect on how and to what extent environmental damage is compensated. Before 2004, some EU member states adopted a notion of environmental damage based on the idea of the environment as a common good and public authority as responsible for its remediation. This notion was formally adopted by the EU environmental liability Directive 2004/35/EC.
The central part of the analysis shows how environmental damage is perceived in Japan. While Japan and its population have faced cases of environmental pollution similar to those of the West, the responses of its legal system have been quite different. Japan has adopted the notion of kogai as the cornerstone of its environmental legislation, where damage to the environment itself is not distinct from the damage suffered by the victims of environmental pollution.
The final section of this chapter presents an interpretation of the Japanese legal response to environmental damage and its significance for the debate about the Japanese attitude towards litigation and the so-called ‘Japanese legal consciousness’.
KeywordsEnvironmental Pollution Legal System Environmental Damage Civil Code Strict Liability
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