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Screening of climatic impacts on a country’s international supply chains: Japan as a case study

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Industrial activities are linked through international supply chains, and the impacts that one country experiences can easily influence other countries. Climate change has made it essential for countries to review their supply chains and to prioritize introducing concrete adaptation actions. Therefore, this study aims to demonstrate a method of screening imported products that are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change by assessing all imported products in a consistent manner throughout the global supply chain to support a country’s adaptation strategy planning. The study focuses on the potential impacts on land use and human health of climate change effects such as floods and heat waves. Japan was selected for a detailed analysis of its imports. A life-cycle assessment technique was applied to evaluate imported products through their supply chains. In Japan’s case, land use results show that agricultural products imported from the United States of America (US) are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. In relation to imported meat products, feed production processes are most vulnerable. The human health results show in addition to agricultural imports, electronics and textile imports are also vulnerable. The study recommends that the relevant stakeholders impacted by these products scrutinize their supply chains. Especially, Japan is recommended to collaborate with the US, China, and Southeast Asian countries for increasing resilience to climate change. The results include uncertainties due to limitations of data availability and methodology; however, this method is also applicable to assessing the global trade activities of any country and to supporting global adaptation strategies.

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Correspondence to Katsuyuki Nakano.

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Nakano, K. Screening of climatic impacts on a country’s international supply chains: Japan as a case study. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 22, 651–667 (2017).

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