The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Japan Association of Environment and Society for the 21st Century

Excavating Japan's traditional wisdom to help formulate a sustainable society, research towards its international contribution

Activity grant

Project Description

There is no clear definition or world agreement of the concept of sustainability, and until now it has largely been based on debates from the West. However, sustainability was also seen in Japan, before the war and particularly in the Edo period. Whilst cultural values were developing, a history of a formation of sustainable society can be seen, which even from a global view is a unique thing to be proud of. It is easy to imagine the pillars of a sustainable society are the traditional wisdom of thought, religion, ethics, culture and tied to the natural conditions which make up Japan's characteristics. However, concepts not expressed by Western methods make it difficult for people around the world to understand and share. Therefore, this project aims to:
(1) Extract and organize possible sustainable ideas from written works of Japan's traditional wisdom
(2) Summarize the concepts upon critically considering the works with a wide range of experts, including Westerners
(3) Examine how to utilize this wisdom in the 21st century world
(4) Aim to publish and disseminate outcomes in Japanese and English, to contribute to securing world sustainability

Grant year
FY2005 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
January 2006 - December 2008
Grant amount
15,700,000 yen
Activity region
Throughout Japan, with membership branches in Tokyo, Kansai, Hiroshima, Toyama, Gunma, Ibaraki, etc.
A joint 2008 symposium G8 Environmental Ministers Meeting held in Kobe

Overview of the Organization

Kato Saburou
Fujimura Konoe, Joint representatives
Kato Saburou
Fujimura Konoe, Joint representatives
Establishment purpose
In order for the next generation to enjoy healthy, rich surroundings, it is important to create a sustainable society using the power of citizens and a balanced environment, economy, and society. The aim of our organization is to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society through public awareness, investigation research, and policy advice in order to encourage the realization of a transformation of societal systems and values to explore a new civilisation obtaining this balance.
Main areas of activity
Mainly within Japan
6 full-time members, 4 part-time members, 571 full members
Annual operating budget
22.73 million yen in 2005, 25.74 million yen in 2006, 25.74 million yen in 2007
WEB site
Recent activities
Our organization is carrying out mainly the following activities to encourage various stakeholders to transform the social system, to realize change towards changing values and lifestyle, encouraging the realization of a transformation of societal systems and values to explore a new civilisation obtaining this balance to oppose a 20th century type civilization based on mass production and mass consumption.
  • (1) Research activities on essential themes to create a sustainable society, system, economic activity, and values for a sustainable society.
  • (2) Policy advocacy activities such as opinion delivery at public events, concrete preparation and creation of policy bills and draft regulations.
  • (3) Dissemination activities to spread "essential information", including cutting edge information, state of the environment and the latest scientific information, and the basis of society's truth and way of thinking.
  • (4) Members nationwide and exchange activities with friends overseas.