Japan and the Environmental Issues




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Japan is an archipelago, which is covered with lots of mountains, which represents three-quarters of the country’s total land area. Its natural forest and plains cover less than two tenths of Japan’s total land area, which is 19 percent and the other half of which is 58.6 percent, located on the island of Hokkaido. [2]

In 1990s, Japan had the world’s fourth highest level of industrial carbon dioxide emissions. After signed the Kyoto Protocol (the international treaty for the prevention of global warming adopted in 1997), the Japanese government promised to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels. Due its high urban population density, the issue of environmental has become very important to Japanese authorities over the pollution produced by the growth of automobile in the big cities in the country, in particularly in Tokyo. [3]

The environment problem has become an issue since that the industrial pollution has grown in the recent years in Japan a long side with the increase of Japanese business activities and life style. In June of 2002, Japan ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and since that has trying to find ways and initiatives efforts to create a ‘low-carbon society’, with a healthier environment and healthy economy. [4]

Like mentioned before, Japan is an archipelago and has a few natural resources, however the country has so much to teach other nations. Japan has become one of the most energy efficient industrial countries in the world, and companies such as Toyota and Sharp, are considered for their technologies that foster green life styles. Although, the country is also known for its environmental catastrophes as for conservations. In the 1960s, Japan had the reputation that Beijing in China has today regarding the condition of the air. The Minamata disease, damaged thousands of Japanese lives in the of 1950s. The consequence of a severe industrial mercury discharge, that caused muscular and neurological problems.[5] However, only in 1968, the Minamata disease was recognized as an environmental pollution. After that, the Japanese government established procedures for screening and an official certification of the Minamata disease victims, and paid compensation to them. [6]

During the period of 1960s and 1970s, Japan experienced several serious problems regarding the environmental pollution, as a result of its rapid economic growth. Other diseases caused by the industrial growth had occurred, besides the Minamata disease, like the respiratory disorders in Tokyo-Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka-Kobe industrial belts, a chronic arsenic poisoning in the Toroku district in Miyazaki Prefecture. This issues, took the Japanese authorities set some regulations to protect the environment and the Japanese population as well. [7]

Another problem that Japan face it I the ‘heat island effect’. The phenomenon is known by this name due the temperature in the city is higher than the suburbs and the isothermal lines create a shape like an island. According to the Ministry of the Environment the number of hours when the temperature in Tokyo was above 30ºC rose from 168 to 375 between 1980 and 2000, because of the heat absorbent of the city surfaces of concrete and asphalt, tall building that can block the air breezes and the use of cars. In this way to diminish this effects, it was recommended in the big city what they called rooftop, which was proposed by Tokyo governor, Shintaro Ishihara, who in 2003, promoted the environmental rejuvenation as his central administration concern. The result was that, 54.5 hectares of rooftops were greened as at 1 January, 2005. [8]


4 comentários sobre “Japan and the Environmental Issues

  1. Japan is one of the high poluted countries, but it is still better than China. The polution there affects water resources and food production. The country is trying to protect its agriculture from global warming, itherwise it will go more toward GMO food which will affect its peoples’ health .


  2. As the industrialization has skyrocketed in japan the level of pollution and its contribution to carbon emission also has increased. If the global warming keeps on rising and the polar caps keeps on melting, japan is one the major island that has high risk of drowning under water than any other country.


  3. i have come to realize that the environmental catastrophe reduces life span of livings things, in what way do yo think the china government can help to increase the life span of living things. most especially human beings.


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