November 30, 2017
Mansfield Fellow Sarah Watson’s (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) initial placements in Japan have allowed her to compare Japanese and U.S. approaches to some of the world’s most significant environmental issues. She began her placements by spending a month with the Recycling Promotion Division at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. One of her objectives for this placement was to better understand Japan’s 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) laws. She also had opportunities to share her expertise on 3R work in the United States in presentations to the Recycling Promotion Division (shown above) and with Yokohama city government’s 3R program during a field trip to Yokohama. The photo below shows Ms. Watson with METI colleagues at the Minami Honmoku Final Disposal Plant in Yokohama. In October Ms. Watson had a brief placement at JESCO (Japan Environmental Safety and Storage Corporation), a government-established and funded private company that works on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) destruction and interim storage of radiation wastes from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster. She then began a four-month placement with the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), where she spent her first weeks in the Mercury Management Office. There she has worked with MOE counterparts on issues related to the Minamata Convention on mercury. The United States and Japan have been leading efforts to implement this convention, which seeks to reduce mercury emissions and discharges to the environment. Ms. Watson also joined her colleagues at a training session regarding the Minamata Convention. The training was hosted by the Japan international Cooperation Agency for representatives from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.