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Environmental Conservation Programs

Lake Biwa

 Kansai plays an important and leading role in the efforts initiated in Japan to deal with a variety of environment-related issues on a global scale, such as global warming, abnormal weather conditions, disruption of the ozone layer in the atmosphere, acid rain, desertification, ocean pollution, and the threat of starvation due to population increase. Public awareness in regard to the global environment is very high in Kansai, and in December of 1997, when the COP3 Kyoto Conference (Third International Conference of the Convention Parties, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) was held in Kyoto, NGO gathered from all around the country to form the Climate Forum (presently the Climate Network), with an office located in Kyoto. The Climate Forum produced several proposals for environmental measures, and since then, especially in Kansai, there has been a high level of citizen activity in regard to environment-related issues. It is said that a program initiated by the "Organization of Kansai Unity" took the lead in the promotion of the "Cool Business" campaign promoting the use of light summer clothing instead of suits in government buildings and the like in order to save on energy costs.

Rooftop greenery

 Programs related to global warming have been initiated in all of the prefectures and cities in Kansai, such as programs promoting rooftop greenery, recycling, solar power as clean energy, solar heating, wind power, and the introduction of biofuel. In addition, based on the Kyoto Protocol issued in Kyoto, with the participation by both government and private parties, many prefectural and municipal bylaws and ordinances have been enacted and put into effect related to the promotion of global warming measures.
 Accounting for 1/6th of the surface area of Shiga Prefecture, Lake Biwa is one of the oldest lakes in the world and the largest water resource in Japan. Established in 1996 based on the The "Lake and Humanity" theme, LAKE BIWA MUSEUM aims to help determine the future of Lake Biwa through research on the history of the relationship between humanity and the lake.
 From early on in its history, Kansai developed as a manufacturing and industrial zone. However, during the high economic growth period after World War II, along the Osaka Bay and Ise Bay coast lines, atmosphere pollution accumulated and plant discharge water added to the pollution in Osaka Bay and nearby rivers. As a result of strenuous efforts by the government and private organizations, these issues were surmounted, and as a result of that process, Kansai became a depository for know-how related to environmental conservation measures.
 Aiming for the formation of a "resource recycling society," stressing the importance of recycling efforts, there are many companies in Kansai taking the lead in the development of next-generation energy resources that place a reduced load on the environment, such as solar power, waste material power, and biomass (biological material) power. Japan has taken the lead in the production of solar cells, with Sharp at the head of the list of companies for its high production volume, and many manufacturers in Kansai are engaged in the production of crystal silicon solar cells. Recently, there has been a tendency for an increase in the production of amorphous silicon and non-silicon thin film solar cells, and many companies are initiating programs aimed at the realization of the practical application of fuel cells.

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