Sustainability Science

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 5–21 | Cite as

Co-design of national-scale future scenarios in Japan to predict and assess natural capital and ecosystem services

  • Osamu SaitoEmail author
  • Chiho Kamiyama
  • Shizuka Hashimoto
  • Takanori Matsui
  • Kikuko Shoyama
  • Kei Kabaya
  • Tomoko Uetake
  • Hisatomo Taki
  • Yoichi Ishikawa
  • Kyohei Matsushita
  • Fumihiro Yamane
  • Juri Hori
  • Toshinori Ariga
  • Kazuhiko Takeuchi
Special Feature: Original Article Future Scenarios for Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: Future Scenarios for Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape


Although the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has revealed that the development of scenarios is crucial for helping decision makers identify the potential impact of different policy options, there is a lack of reported scenario approach studies in Asia. A new 5-year research project (PANCES) has been developed for predicting and assessing the natural capital and ecosystem services in Japan using an integrated social–ecological system approach via the participation of 15 research institutions and more than 100 researchers. PANCES conducts the development of national-scale future scenarios for exploring potential changes in natural capital and ecosystem services, as well as human well-being, up to 2050 using key direct and indirect drivers including climate change, depopulation, and super-aging, as well as globalization and technological innovation. The Delphi method is employed to generate key drivers that determine different future pathways. Based on the two drivers for scenario axes identified by the Delphi survey and extensive discussion with project members and policy makers, four future scenarios are created, “Natural capital-based compact society”, “Natural capital-based dispersed society”, “Produced capital-based compact society”, and “Produced capital-based dispersed society”, respectively, in addition to the business-as-usual scenario. This study describes a novel approach for collectively designing national-scale future scenarios with qualitative storylines and a visual illustration of the developed scenarios in Japan.


Scenarios Social–ecological systems Natural capital Ecosystem services Human well-being 



This research was funded by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-15 ‘‘Predicting and Assessing Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services’’ (PANCES), Ministry of the Environment, Japan). I specially appreciate the project members and respondents who contributed to this survey design and implementation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Osamu Saito
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chiho Kamiyama
    • 1
  • Shizuka Hashimoto
    • 2
  • Takanori Matsui
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kikuko Shoyama
    • 1
  • Kei Kabaya
    • 2
  • Tomoko Uetake
    • 2
  • Hisatomo Taki
    • 4
  • Yoichi Ishikawa
    • 5
  • Kyohei Matsushita
    • 6
  • Fumihiro Yamane
    • 7
  • Juri Hori
    • 8
  • Toshinori Ariga
    • 9
  • Kazuhiko Takeuchi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 10
  1. 1.United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of SustainabilityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.The University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Osaka UniversitySuitaJapan
  4. 4.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteForest Research and Management OrganizationTsukubaJapan
  5. 5.Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)YokosukaJapan
  6. 6.Shiga UniversityHikoneJapan
  7. 7.Hiroshima City UniversityHiroshimaJapan
  8. 8.Educational Unit for Studies on Connectivity of Hills, Humans and OceansKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  9. 9.National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES)TsukubaJapan
  10. 10.Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)TsukubaJapan

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