Comparative analysis of the environmental impact assessment procedures of Japan and New Zealand

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The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi-I accident and the subsequent shutdown of the entire nuclear reactor park has left Japan in a situation in which it has to reform its energy market in order to accommodate more electricity from renewable forms of energy generation such as wind- or geothermal power; with special focus on large-scale installations, which are most likely to increase renewable energy (RE) generation significantly in the short-term. New Zealand is a country with a similar energy potential as Japan and is already capable of producing more than two-thirds of its electricity through renewables. By comparing the legal and policy aspects of both countries’ energy market environments, it will be examined how certain laws, policies and regulations can be designed to create a market- and business environment in which it is easier to promote RE development. Relying on in-depth analysis of the respective national environmental law frameworks and the specific provisions therein, it will be attempted to demonstrate that administrative hurdles, more precisely the complicated environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations, constitute one of the major factors in the Japanese system that stifles potential RE investment the most. These should be further reorganized and reformed in order to enhance the appeal and lower the cost of the entire approval process. In 2009, New Zealand introduced certain streamlining measures such a dedicated government agency and the creation of priority areas, which combined did reduce the cost and time of the EIA process notably for many large-scale RE power station projects. In conclusion, New Zealand environmental law offers an example of how Japan can modify certain laws to improve administrative efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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