The Hatoyama Government has made a very public pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 25%. Ambitious, but possible. However, this was made amid a very serious economic downturn, and still the Japanese economy is fragile, and many tens of thousands factory workers are still unemployed. To maintain the economy, keeping money floating and changing hands, the ordinary people are not being asked to pay out so much. Public education is set to become free (a bill will be submitted later this month to parliament), but two important points are being made public in Japanese media. National highway tolls will be cut to just one-thousand yen per section, and “eco-points” (ie: government cashback offers) for all new “ecologically friendly” televisions and other appliances bought.
In previous holidays, we saw that with a decrease to one-thousand yen highway tolls, that there was a significant increase in traffic. Meeting the 25% carbon reduction appears more difficult to attain. However, can eco-points assist in this? Perhaps not. The offer ends on March 31st, 2010.
Our previous television used about 190 watts per hour, and it was an older, 36″ cathode-ray type. The new “eco-friendly” television, at 40″, bought second hand (ex-shop display) uses 170 watts per hour. Hardly a reduction at all. But we do get twenty-thousand yen back from the government, which should cover the electricity bill for the times when I accidentally leave a 40 watt desk lamp on while watching my environmentally friendly television.
Why offer cheaper highway tolls, cash back on electronic products, and free education? Not really to keep the economy turning (at least artificially), but because there’s an upper house election later this year. But a High Definition LCD TV is so much nicer than the previous cathode ray tube.