Tokyo's mayor has seen the (green) light and is taking major steps to introduce a climate change programme for the city despite Japan's reticence nationally on the matter. Mayor Shintaro Ishihara is a 75 year old self-acknowledged rightwinger who has decided to go it alone and impose strict curbs on local green house gas emissions. Some have compared his initiatives to those of California's Governor Schwartzenegger's differences with the Bush administration.
As of 2010 Tokyo will impose caps on emissions on its largest polluters, along with credit trading for those who go over the limit. The city has budgeted $191M for green initiatives this year including subsidies to small businesses to help them comply. Building regulations are being tightened for new buildings and increased energy efficiency is being promoted in Tokyo homes and offices. Almost 1,000 hectares of new parks and trees will be planted in the next 8 years. Tokyo has a population of 13M people but it is only responsible for 5% of Japan's emissions because it is has little heavy industry. However this stance will certainly send a strong message to the Prime Minister in time for the G8 summit next month where he has promised to put global warming high on the agenda, and hopefully show more leadership in this area. :: Financial Times