Mick Corliss
For Mick Corliss's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Aug 30, 2000
Talks to hold up Kitakyushu as environmental success story
Asia, with more than half the world's population and economies that continue to grow, poses one of the biggest environmental challenges of the coming century. The United Nations predicts that by 2025 more than half the region's population will have moved to the already packed metropolises.
Aug 27, 2000
Cancer-causing chemicals found at Yokohama site
YOKOHAMA -- Just above the junction of the Tsurumi and Toriyama rivers lies a fenced-off area that looks like a simple abandoned lot.
Aug 25, 2000
Updated environment plan to add new economic options
The Basic Environment Plan -- Japan's 5-year-old master plan for a more environmentally sustainable society -- is in the middle of a seismic revision.
Aug 10, 2000
Critics slam government 'sinks' proposal
What is a forest?
Aug 4, 2000
Drink machines called handy polluters
They never sleep, gripe about overtime or quibble over paychecks. And -- with more than 5 million of them scattered around the nation -- they are ubiquitous.
Jul 21, 2000
Groups hit G8 inaction on illegal logging
As the Group of Eight major nations kick off three days of summit meetings in Okinawa today, environmentalists are mounting an effort to steal a slice of the limelight.
Jul 20, 2000
Fears for Okinawa's unique ecosystem
Okinawa Prefecture punctuates the Japanese archipelago as the period on its southern border. Stretching westward like an island path leading to Taiwan, the island group, though small, is teeming with a diverse abundance of plant and animal life.
Jul 16, 2000
The unrivaled madness of Shinjuku
When it comes to congestion, JR Shinjuku Station is king. This station is the Yamanote Line's undisputed champion of traffic, rowdy customers and sheer bedlam and confusion.
Jul 13, 2000
Kawaguchi to look to private-sector past
Newly appointed Environment Agency chief Yoriko Kawaguchi will use her private-sector experience to strengthen the agency as it prepares to become a ministry, but says her background has taught her to be wary of government regulation.
Jun 9, 2000
Ainu law fails to address grievances
ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido — For thousands of years, Kenichi Kawamura's ancestors owned nothing but had access to everything.
Jun 7, 2000
Volcano leaves Lake Toya in limbo
ABUTA, Hokkaido — Lake Toya is silent. The smell of sulfur is heavy in the air.
Jun 7, 2000
Windswept town realizes gusts can be a clean money-spinner
TOMAMAE, Hokkaido — They tower above the ocean on bluffs and farmland, spinning like otherworldly contraptions misplaced on Hokkaido's bucolic coast. But the livestock don't seem to mind.
Jun 7, 2000
Drag racing finds new meaning with plow horses
ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido — Skirting a fresh pile of manure, I settle in behind the well-muscled, veiny flanks of a Banei racehorse.
May 3, 2000
Look to past to build in tune with nature, landscaper says
Japan has a brilliant landscaping tradition and would do well to revive it in the pursuit of ecologically sound development, according to the man recognized as the founder of ecological planning.
Apr 23, 2000
JR East's No. 20 'just your average station'
Like many Yamanote Loop stations, Gotanda's name speaks of the area's past. Gotanda literally means 5,000 sq. meters of rice paddies, "tan" formerly being a measure for land area equivalent to 1,000 sq. meters.
Mar 23, 2000
Tobacco-curbing target up in smoke
Up in smoke -- that is the simplest way to describe the fate of an ambitious Health and Welfare Ministry plan to drastically cut the number of smokers as well as overall tobacco consumption in Japan by 2010.
Feb 29, 2000
Japanese politics are gray, not green
GREEN POLITICS IN JAPAN, by Lam Peng Er. Routledge, March 1999, 232 pp., $90. The next 100 years have been dubbed the century of the environment. While this pronouncement may be a bit premature, even inflated, it reflects the swelling interest in environmental issues. From global warming and dioxins, recycling and waste disposal, environmental problems are making more headlines.
Feb 2, 2000
Nago airport plan seen as dugong threat
Less playful than dolphins and not as awesomely powerful as whales, dugongs have somehow failed to capture the popular imagination like their more dynamic cetacean brethren.
Feb 1, 2000
Nago base plan threatens dugong habitat
Less playful than dolphins and not as awesomely powerful as whales, dugongs have somehow failed to capture the popular imagination like their more dynamic cetacean brethren. But this endangered creature, found off the east coast of Okinawa's main island, may soon steal the limelight.
Jan 19, 2000
Washington not ready to swallow Kyoto Protocol
Staff writer The United States is determined to realize a workable international agreement to fight global warming, but serious sticking points remain before Washington can ratify the Kyoto Protocol, U.S. Climate Change negotiator Mark Hambley said on Wednesday. Hambley, who has headed climate change delegations since 1995, is in Tokyo for four days of Umbrella Group meetings to see if group members -- nine developed countries that do not belong to the European Union -- can forge a common stance on issues before COP6, the Sixth United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in The Hague in November. For the first time, sinks -- carbon absorbing areas such as forests -- will be formally discussed at the longer-than-usual Umbrella Group gathering, Hambley said. Both the length of this Umbrella Group meeting, which runs until Thursday, as well as plans to meet three times this year instead of the traditional two, reflect the need to pick up the pace before COP6, he added. Under the protocol approved at COP3 in Kyoto in 1997, industrialized countries agreed to legally binding emission reduction targets for carbon dioxide and five other types of greenhouse gases. The total volume of their greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. But the "meaningful participation" of developing countries, manageable climate change program costs, limitless carbon trading and a strict compliance mechanism are key issues if the U.S. is to ratify the protocol, Hambley said. "We do not want to damage the U.S. economy," he added, explaining that cost considerations will be very important. The U.S. feels there should be no ceiling on carbon emissions trading -- a scheme that allows countries to buy, gain or trade carbon emission rights to offset reduction costs, Hambley said. A ceiling, as advocated by other developed countries, would "introduce artificial costs," Hambley said. The U.S. is also intent on creating a strict compliance system. Without one, the integrity of the protocol is at risk, he maintained. "We want a system that would penalize countries if they do not meet their (reduction) targets." Exactly what "meaningful participation" by developing countries will entail, Hambley said, will vary by country, but some would be expected to commit to reductions soon. Asked about the possibility that other countries might push ahead independent of the U.S. if it drags its feet, Hambley said that would be a mistake. "For countries to go alone on this I think would be an error," he said. "We view the Kyoto Protocol as the first of several steps to address global warming. It is a global problem that requires a global solution." The U.S. is not sitting on its laurels, he added. More than two-thirds of the 50 states have complete emission inventories and half of them are working on action plans to cut emissions, he said. "We are not waiting for it (the climate change convention) to be ratified before taking action." "For the U.S. this is an exciting period," he added. "I am confident that the international community is moving in a common direction and we will have a positive outcome."


Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on