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The Environment Ministry is looking for new ideas to help formulate innovative environmental policies.

The Committee to Promote Nongovernment Organization Environment Policy Proposals, an independent six-member board, is soliciting ideas from NGOs and citizens and will choose six or seven for presentation at a forum in July to be attended by Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi. The event will be the first of its kind.

“Citizen participation in policymaking in Japan has been weak since society became dependent on bureaucrats way back in the Meiji Era. This (forum) is an attempt to strengthen the role of the public,” said Ryokichi Hirono, an economics professor at Teikyo University who heads the promotion committee.

The project is being overseen by the Global Environment Information Center, which is jointly run by the Environment Ministry and the United Nations University.

All proposals must be submitted by June 15. Successful applicants will present their proposals to committee members and the environment minister on July 11 at UNU in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward.

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