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Japan at Nature's EdgeThe Environmental Context of a Global Power$
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Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett L. Walker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836924

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836924.001.0001

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Japanese Environmental Policy

Japanese Environmental Policy

Lessons from Experience and Remaining Problems

(p.222) 12 Japanese Environmental Policy
Japan at Nature's Edge

Ken’ichi Miyamoto

, Jeffrey E. Hanes
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the historical lessons that can be drawn from Japan's environmental policy making to date as well as the key environmental policy challenges that confront Japan today. It begins with a discussion of Japan's pollution problems before World War II, focusing on the major pollution incidents that marked the modern era such as those involving Hitachi Mining (now Hitachi Ltd.), Osaka Alkali (now Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha, Ltd.), Sumitomo Metal Mining, and the city of Osaka. It then considers the four major pollution cases that occurred after Japan abandoned the pollution control measures it had taken in the prewar period in favor of a focused economic development policy of high-speed growth following World War II: Minamata disease, Niigata Minamata disease, Itai-Itai disease (cadmium poisoning), and the air pollution emitted by the Yokkaichi industrial complex. The chapter also describes the deficiencies of Japan's pollution control measures, along with the distinguishing features of Japanese environmental policy making and postwar citizens' environmental activism. Finally, it addresses the importance of creating a sustainable society that recycles its resources.

Keywords:   environmental policy, Japan, pollution, pollution control, economic development, Minamata disease, Niigata Minamata disease, Itai-Itai disease, environmental activism, sustainable society

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