I attended the opening ceremony and several meetings on October 22, the first day of the Second World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) which was held in Yokohama City on October 22-24, 2018.
The term ‘circular economy’ has now come to be known as the most advanced concept in the environmental policies. Finland in northern Europe is playing a leading role in promoting it. If the population on earth and its consumption explosively increase, resources, foods, and the spatial environment will reach the limits. Resources will be exhausted and the places to dispose of wastes will extremely lessen. However, if we enable all the limited resources to circulate dealing with them as usefully and effectively as possible, we can protect the environment on earth, and we, human beings, can coexist with it – in other words, we can vitalize our economy within such environment. This concept of building the worldwide ‘circular economy’ is the ultimate purpose of the environmental policy to protect human beings and their environment.
The Second World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) was co-sponsored by the Japan’s Ministry of the Environment which I serve as the Minister, and the Finish Innovation Fund Sitra. Over 1,000 policymakers, scholars, experts and business people from different countries participated in the forum. My role as the Minister of the Environment was also extremely important – delivering an opening address, attending several bilateral meetings, signing agreements, having a press interview, and attending the reception. Indeed I was tired, but I was rather proud of being engaged in an international effort. I exchanged greetings with many guests and participants at the reception who were in line to greet me. We encouraged each other, and I told them to contact me at any time when they have some issues to be resolved. Nowadays in Japan, the word “3Rs” has taken root which stands for ‘Reduce’, ‘Reuse’ and ‘Recycle’. In my opinion, this word aims at the same goal as ‘circular economy’.