|[ECCJ][Outline Report][Reference 1][Reference 2][Reference 3][Reference 4]|
|Outline of the Report on the National Conference|
the Global Environment and Summer Time
|1.||Objectives of "the National Conference on the Global Environment and Summer Time"|
|2.||Overview of the Summer Time System|
|3.||Process of the national conference|
|4.||The major issues arising from the Summer Time system|
|5.||Introduction of the Summer Time system|
|Reference 1||Estimated effects on energy saving of introducing the Summer Time system|
|Reference 2||Items affecting daily life after the introduction of the Summer Time system|
|Reference 3||Costs of enforcing the Summer Time system|
|Reference 4||Major subjects apart from the cost required for introducing the Summer Time system|
|The national conference was held in September 1998 to promote discussions on a variety of issues related to introducing "Summer Time" ("summer time").This theme arose from the "Outline of Measures for Promoting Efforts to Prevent Global Warming," which was announced after the agreement made by COP3 to achieve a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.|
|(1)|| Overview of the Summer Time System|
The Summer Time system is a system by which the time is reset to one hour ahead of the standard time during the period when the sun rises earlier to make efficient use of sunlight.
|(2)|| Enforcement of the Summer Time system around the world|
More than 70 countries have adopted the Summer Time system.Their major objective is to reduce the consumption of energy and fossil fuels.Among OECD member countries, Japan, Korea, and Iceland are the only countries that do not enforce the system.
|(3)|| Enforcement of the Summer Time system in Japan|
The Summer Time system was introduced in Japan in 1948 based on the instructions of GHQ.The system was discontinued in 1952 after a public opinion poll had shown that 53% of the people were in favor of its abolition.
|(4)|| Changes in the national consensus over the Summer Time system|
(results of public opinion polls)
Looking at the trend in the results of public opinion polls on the Summer Time system, the ratio of the people supporting the system has steadily risen since 1990.In a public opinion poll carried out in November 1998, the approval rating reached a majority for the first time (approval 54% and disapproval 25%).
|Discussions were started in last September. Issues that needed to be investigated were identified by four local conferences.Intensive discussions were carried out on four selected issues: (1) effects on energy saving and the prevention of global warming, (2) effects on working conditions, (3) effects on life styles, and (4) costs of enforcement.|
After the various discussions that followed, a draft report was compiled on March 17, 1999.Local hearings on the report were held at nine locations throughout Japan.Opinions were heard from 90 advisers representing each field, and about 1,400 opinions were collected during the one-month period when public comments were invited.
|(1)||The effects on energy saving and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.|
The direct effect is a reduction in the amount of power demanded for lighting.The indirect effects are an increase in energy consumption due to increased demand for leisure activities and an enhanced awareness of the need for "a life style that is kinder to the global environment."Estimates were calculated for the first two items.The overall effect on energy saving is equivalent to about 500 thousand kl, and the amount of CO2 reduction is equivalent to about 440 thousand tons (Reference 1) It was pointed out that achieving substantial effects by working out small measures is important.
(About 500 thousand kl is equivalent to the total Japanese household consumption of energy used for lighting during one month.It is equivalent to about one per cent of the total energy saving measures agreed in COP3 and to about ten per cent of the amount of energy conservation achieved through substantial changes in national life styles.
|(2)||Effects on working conditions|
Investigating statistical data and practices overseas reveals that working hours do not appear to be affected by the Summer Time system.However, concerns on this issue are being expressed, and measures must be taken to ensure that the introduction of the system would not worsen working conditions.
|[Reference:]Changes in working hours before and after the introduction of the Summer Time system after Korean war|
|(3)||Effects on life styles|
Various changes such as an increase in outdoor activities are expected to be caused by the introduction of the Summer Time system(Reference 2).It must be considered that it is up to individuals to choose the activities in which they take part during the longer daylight time in the evenings.
|(4)||Costs of enforcement|
The total direct costs of adjustments in both hardware and software required for introducing the Summer Time system amount to approximately 100 billion yen or 85 billion yen under another estimate (Reference 3).As for items that do not require cost, adjustments will be required in other areas such as arrival/departure times for international airlines (Reference 4).
As for direct energy saving effects, it is also pointed out that it is necessary to consider the fact that an annual cost reduction of 77 billion yen (about 660 yen per household power consumption) can be expected.
There are some concerns that health will be affected. But a time shift of only one hour is not expected to have any bad effect on health, and very few problems have been reported abroad on this issue.Although some people argue that the system is not suitable for countries such as Japan with hot and humid nights, the Summer Time system has been adopted in eastern U.S.A., where the climate is similar to Japan's.The change in temperature during the night time caused by the system is small.
It has been widely recognized that (1) environmental problems are becoming more serious, (2) the system is expected to be effective for saving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the nation's environmental consciousness, and (3) public opinion polls indicate that a majority of the public approve the system.Therefore, the Summer Time system should be introduced based on the framework outlined below, as an important step to realize a life style that is kinder to the global environment.
|(2)||Period for enforcing the Summer Time system|
The period from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October is most suitable.This recommendation takes into account various aspects such as the amount of energy conservation and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the everyday life of the nation, and harmony with international institutions. (Some members preferred the period of May to September.)
|(3)||Measures to be taken for the introduction of the Summer Time system|
Although the working environment has changed considerably since the years after the last war, concerns about a deterioration of working conditions must be taken into account.Further efforts are required to reduce working hours and to keep limits on overtime hours based on the amended Labor Standard Act.In addition, the promotion of staggered office attendance hours and flexi-time should be continued.
Although life style is an area where each individual should make choices, there are concerns over the effects on children's lives.Appropriate public information and the utilization and improvement of places available for children's activities are necessary.
When introducing the Summer Time system, careful consideration and appropriate measures are required to ensure that the people in general who are beneficiaries will not suffer any disadvantages.
|(4)||Period for publicity and preparations for introducing the Summer Time system|
An adequate period for publicity and preparations is necessary to avoid any confusion when introducing the Summer Time system.Approximately two years are required, taking into account various issues such as adjustments of departure/arrival times for international airlines.
|(5)||Naming of Summer Time system|
To decide an appropriate name for the Summer Time system, about 1,800 names have been collected from the public.These include, as a typical example, "Eco Time."Many at the national conference supported the name "Summer Time," which is widely used in Europe and other countries.
|The Summer Time system would affect the activities of everybody in the country.Thus, it could be a significant step in achieving a life style that is kinder to the global environment.It would be useful to initiate a national campaign immediately with participation from a wide range of sectors and levels.It will also be necessary to evaluate the effects and the influences of the system after it is introduced through monitoring.|
[ECCJ][Outline Report][Reference 1][Reference 2][Reference 3][Reference 4]
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