The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law and Policy


The Environment and Law

Background of Research

In order to maintain the standards of our everyday lives, the protection of the natural environment from the regional to global levels is an indispensable prerequisite. However, expansions of the social and economic activities of mankind continue to place an immense burden on the environment and the need for responses to the rebounding problems of pollution and global environmental damage affecting our daily lives poses an increasingly grave threat to the survival of mankind. Therefore, for example in the “SDGs Action Platform” (published 20th of December 2019) adopted by the Government’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Division” as its plan of action till the year 2030, “among the Science Technology Innovations (STI) deemed necessary for the achievement of the SDGs are: the encouragement of the societal uptake of research and development successes as well as the realization and adoption of a sustainable circular economy through the promotion of a bioeconomy strategy in addition to many others stated goals.

Details of Research

The field of Environment and Law has since about the 1990s expanded from its historical focus on worsening pollution to include the necessity of creating sustainable development measures to deal with the global environmental problems that do not necessarily result in visually apparent harm to health. However, the recent experience of pollutants such as PM2.5 crossing the sea from China to this country has underscored the threat of environmental problems which overcome the boundaries of nation states. With this in mind our unit focusses its attention not only on the environmental problems of the world at large but also regional environmental problems apparent in East Asia such as air and water pollution against which we hope to provide legal and political schemes to solve these problems.

On the other hand, in relation to the realization of sustainable development for the benefit of mankind, supporting the global free market as well as the solving of global environmental problems is of the utmost importance. Environmental regulations are often regarded as a disruptor of investment freedom. However, when one considers the legal regulations needed to safeguard the environment with reference to scientific empirical analysis of the causes and effects of environmental pollution, the internal regulations of each nation alongside regulations derived from international treaties and regulatory harmonization through international government networks aim to strike a balance between the freedom of international investment and environmental protection through legal regulation. Therefore, at this Unit we base our analysis on the twin pillars of “The International Harmonization of Environmental Regulation” and its “Reconciliation with the Freedom of Investment Activity”. Specifically with the former we seek to prevent the misappropriation of environmental protection regulations for the purpose of disrupting investment activity and with the latter we seek to prevent the overemphasizing of investment freedom at the expense of effective environmental protection in regulations. At this Unit we tackle these problems through analyzing the increasing role of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in environmental problems and with this analysis we seek to develop a legal theory structure capable of solving the above-mentioned issues.

Introduction to the Unit Leader

Unit Leader Hiroki Harada (Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Kyoto Graduate School of Law)

He is researching the nature of administrative law in the era of the devolution of acts traditionally performed by the state to private as well as global and local entities. The field of environmental law also relates to this phenomenon and Professor Harada’s publications in this area include: Basic Theory of Public Systems Design (KOUBUNDOU Publishers Inc. 2014), Administrative Law and Policy (Tokyo University Press, 2015), Globalization and Public Law, The Reorganization of Public-Private Law Relationships (Co-author, KOUBUNDOU Publishers Inc. 2015), The Globalization of the Policy Implementation Process (Co-author, KOUBUNDOU Publishers Inc. 2019), Basic Theory of Public Interest Conflict Resolution (KOUBUNDOU Publishers Inc. 2021) among others.