In June 1999, upon request of Mr. Gorbachev, Green Cross Japan(GCJ) organized an Earth Charter meeting to discuss the Charter with major stakeholders on sustainable development in Japan. The output of the meeting was sent to the Earth Charter international secretariat as a contribution to the EC Drafting Process.
In 2000, the Earth Charter Japan secretariat was organized by Mrs. Wakako Hironaka, member of the House of Councilors, the Diet of Japan, and member of the ECI Council. The text of the Earth Charter was translated into Japanese and was printed for distribution among Japanese citizens.
On Nov 28th 2001, a group called the Earth Charter Commission Japan was organized around a major event: The Global Environment Action (GEA) Conference. Important guests for this meeting were Mr. Tsutomu Hata, former Prime Minister of Japan; Prof. Hans van Ginkel, former Rector of the United Nation’s University; and Prof. Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, former Science Council Chairman of Japan. Mr. Maurice Strong gave a Keynote Address at the conference. Nearly one hundred people participated in this inauguration meeting from NGOs, business, journalists, academia and politics.
The Earth Charter Japan was later called the Earth Charter Asia Pacific & Japan Committee. It has produced educational materials in Japanese and English, and a webpage to promote the Earth Charter.
This Committee has also been encouraging the Government of Japan to increase its overseas development assistance to developing countries, as a way to put the Earth Charter principles in action. The Embassy of Japan in Costa Rica has contributed financially to the Earth Charter International Secretariat, specifically for developing educational materials for schools in Costa Rica.
The Earth Charter Committee of Japan produced an Earth Charter Manga booklet, with illustrations from the famous manga artist Mr. Norio Yamanoi, the holder of the Manga copyright. This manga booklet is available in Japanese and English. It presents the major global sustainability issues, which are mentioned in the Earth Charter Preamble, in a way that is easy to understand by the general public. The Earth Charter Manga was launched in Japan in a parallel event at the UNESCO ESD World Conference in Nagoya in November 2014. Find this publication here.
The Earth Charter Japan – Asia Pacific Committee has been actively organizing activities since 2005. These include the organization of conference and symposiums, to cultural performances and translation of important documents. Find here a summary of activities organized and planned, from 2005 – 2012.
In 2005, the UN Classic Live produced a musical on the environment called “Our Forest is Alive – Part III: Our Earth Charter”. They have performed all over Japan as well as abroad, including at the UN Headquarters in New York and in Geneva.
In October 2003 the GEA Conference for a Sustainable Future held in Japan was attended by Earth Charter Commissioners HRH Princess Basma, Wakako Hironaka, Steven Rockefeller and other friends of the Earth Charter. Presenters urged Japanese society to embrace the Earth Charter and use it as a reference and educational tool. At the end of the Conference a set of recommendations was adopted, including one on the Earth Charter which reads as follows: “Partners to promote the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development should consider establishment of an ethical framework of sustainable development. The guiding principles in the Earth Charter should be reflected in materials used in all learning efforts to promote sustainable development, including those in the school systems”
A series of seminars about the Earth Charter were held in Osaka, organized by the KEEP group of Soka Gakkai Internationa (SGI) between 2001 and 2002, with speakers including Earth Council Executive Director Mr. Maximo Kalaw and Mr. Eiichi Yamashita, Vice Minister for the Environment. In 2002, SGI in collaboration with the Earth Charter International Secretariat, produced an Earth Charter exhibition entitled “Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter and Human Potential” which was first launched at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, and has been translated into 11 languages. The Earth Charter is one focus of the Soka Gakkai’s “21st Century Environment Exhibition,” launched in 2006. By 2009,
this had been seen by over 500,000 people in 65 locations in Japan.