Preparing for the Adoption of Daylight-Saving Time:
The need for a system that ensures compatibility of
environmental protection and economic growth
May 26, 2005
Preparations are under way for the introduction of daylight-saving time ("summer time"), a system that winding clocks forward by one hour from spring through early autumn, when there are more hours of daylight. In April 2005, a cross-party Federation of Diet Members for the Introduction of a Summer Time System drew up a "Summer Time Bill" that is to be presented to the Diet during its current session.
One reason for the growing interest in the adoption of daylight-saving time is that the Kyoto Protocol coming into effect and has made it a priority to find ways of preventing global warming. The adoption of daylight-saving time will have a limited direct impact on greenhouse gas emissions and a certain level of initial costs will have to be borne, but the hope is that changing clocks twice a year will help to raise public awareness of the environment and so contribute indirectly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The present debate on the adoption of daylight-saving time is distinguished by the fact that, not only are government and Diet taking a positive stance, but support is also growing among business enterprises, labor unions and local government authorities. This may be ascribed to widespread recognition of the importance of environmental issues but also to the importance attached to improving the quality of life.
With the adoption of daylight-saving time set to raise awareness of environmental issues in the general public and the corporate sector, the way is now open for the Japanese government to promote compatibility of environmental protection and economic growth by encouraging Japanese companies not to see environmental issues as the negative side of economic activity (i.e. a burden) but to enhance the energy-saving functions at which they excel, and to encourage efforts in other countries to reduce the burden on the environment through conversion to energy-saving technologies.
For more information on the content of this report, please contact Yoshihito Sato the Japan Research Institute, Limited.