This paper explores the relevance for the debate on “pollution havens” of two cases from the international political economy of Japan-Southeast Asia relations. It begins by suggesting that the typical focus of the pollution havens literature is too narrow, and concentrates instead on the broader question of the extent to which the environmental transformations associated with particular sectors influence their international siting patterns. The first case—the changes in Japanese FDI to Asia in the 1970s—demonstrates that Japanese firms and the Japanese state consciously attempted to relocate highly-polluting industry in order to escape anti-pollution protest in Japan. The second case—the effort to create in Asia and the Pacific an export-oriented industrial tree plantation (ITP) sector supplying regional pulp and paper markets—shows, somewhat counterintuitively, that political contestation related to the environmental problems caused by ITPs has encouraged Japanese companies to concentrate their tree planting activity not in Southeast Asia but in Australia.

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