Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental impact assessment is also known as environmental assessment. It is our important duty to hand over a fertile natural environment to future generations, including lush green, clean air and water, and tranquil surroundings free of noise.

For enhanced quality of life, it is necessary to construct roads and airports for improved transportation, create dams for sufficient water supply, and build power plants to generate electricity to sustain people’s daily life. However, no important development works should have a negative impact on the environment.

To prevent such environmental impact from development works, it is important to consider their environmental conservation aspects carefully before deciding the details, in addition to earnings and profitability.

The concept of environmental assessment emerged in this context. In environmental assessment the related parties conduct surveys, forecasts and evaluations regarding the possible environmental impact of a planned development project; they then publicize their results to invite opinions from the public and local authorities, so that the planned project will become more agreeable from the aspect of environmental conservation. In terms of Japanese legislation, the Environmental Impact Assessment Law was enacted in June 1997.

The Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition has the Environmental Affairs Group among its organizations; the Group commenced environmental assessment for EXPO 2005 in April 1999, in compliance with a notice from the then Ministry of International Trade and Industry in March 1998 (Guidelines for the Environmental Impact Assessment for the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan). In the process of selecting the EXPO venues, confusion arose due to the discovery of goshawk nests on a candidate site, before the present venues were determined in December 2001. Since that determination, the Association has continued to evaluate the environmental impact of vibration and noise caused by construction work, speaker sounds accompanying events during the EXPO term and lighting radiated into the air at night, so as to minimize such impact. The number of items in the EXPO-related environmental assessment reaches over 200.

The environmental impact assessment for EXPO 2005 introduces many new initiatives, as a model of advanced environmental assessment in the 21st century. For example, the Association:

1) Incorporated the effect of the Environmental Impact Assessment Law before its enforcement in June 1999, publicizing information on the project to the general public and inviting their opinions, which were fed back into the project plans.

2) Have sought to realize the main theme of EXPO 2005, “Nature’s Wisdom,” considering what details the exposition should have, to express the modern significance of Mother Nature and hand it over to future generations.

3) Have promoted project measures covering a considerably wide range, in line with the development of EXPO site plans, to follow up different contents and levels of individual facilities, and feed any findings back into the project plans.

4) Have widely presented related information to and invited opinions from local residents, experts and governmental agencies. Regarding the “Implementation Plans,” we have also organized briefings, which are not required by law. In addition, we have taken into consideration citizen opinions provided at “EXPO Ears” and via other resources on the Internet.

We will be very happy if our initiatives set a model for similar future development projects in Japan and overseas.