Humanity must address the unprecedented issue of global environment head-on and we must do it in the 21st century. Unless we make some kind of revolutionary change, we will not survive. If mankind were to become extinct, the planet Earth would recover in less than a century. What’s at stake now is us.

Japan has developed a splendid culture that values coexistence with nature. Western understanding, however, has not been fully integrated into the Japanese experience, history or tradition, which stretches back over 2000 years, and has thus never become part of the popular wisdom or accepted truth of everyday life. As a result, the Japanese people lack the volition to make decisions and take responsibility for their execution, an attitude which not only caused the economic bubble but also a series of political and social bubbles, leading to increasing disarray.

This issue gives rise to questions about how we should live on a finite planet. It also applies to environmental issues. People say that “the Earth is at stake,” emphasizing the risks but lacking the correct scientific understanding, thereby losing the ability to make calm judgments and unnecessarily provoking a sense of crisis.

It is now imperative for Japan to re-establish itself in the context of Asia in the 21st century and to: (1) develop a new Asian rationale based on a comprehensive and strategic understanding of environmental issues in Asia, (2) build a safe and comfortable global environment and vibrant economic and social systems, and (3) encourage the Japanese people to fulfill their role in contributing to peace and prosperity in Asia.

In relation to the latter, we must all of us start to think about the roles and responsibilities we must fulfill as individuals for the benefit of mankind and the global environment for at least a century ahead and, accordingly, take actions at our own initiative.

The Asia Environmental Technology Promotion Institute (AET) aims to aggressively promote these efforts. Other important objectives of AET include inspiring, through these efforts, a spirit of industriousness as well as attachment to the nation, both of which are being lost in Japan today, as well as reminding ourselves of the authentic beauty of Japan, a country once called the safest in the world, and helping the nation adjust to the new realities of the 21st century.