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Since its early stages, Keio University has focused on environmental issues in developing countries in Asia, and has made continual efforts to tackle related problems as part of its program of international environmental cooperation. In the mid-1980s, Professor Hashimoto together with his colleagues at the Faculty of Science and Technology developed a network for performing atmospheric observations in the major cities of China, including Beijing, Shenyang, and Chengdu. These observations allowed the study of air pollution and related issues such as its relationship with respiratory diseases. In the early 1990s, this venture became the basis of the cross-faculty China Environmental Research Group, which promoted projects such as the transfer of bio-briquette technology and the cultivation and transplantation of bamboo grass as food for pandas. In 2001, the Japan–China Afforestation Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project (as prescribed in the Kyoto Protocol) began as a collaborative venture among the Faculty of Business and Commerce, the Faculty of Policy Management, and the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies; this was certified by both the Japanese and the Chinese governments in 2009. If this project is approved by the United Nations CDM Executive Board, it will become the first example of a small-scale afforestation CDM project.

In 2009, Keio University established its “Environmental Energy Research Center” as a cross-faculty and trans-academic platform to promote research projects for creating a society in harmony with the global environment, especially projects that help the shift to a low-carbon society or that nurture highly qualified environmental specialists.