1998 1.Efforts to Improve Urban Environment in Japan/16th EAROPH Congress

16th EAROPH Congress, October 30, 1998,Bali, IndonesiaEfforts to Improve Urban Environment in Japanby Prof. Hirohide KONAMI (PhD)

1 Introduction

In order to realize the sustainable urban areas, city planners have been trying to introduce various measures into city planning since the industrial revolution happened in 19th century in Japan.

The beginning part of the effort was directed how to develop urban areas and how to establish industries to grow the regional economy. But the latter part has been directed how to improve the urban problems such as traffic congestion and water shortage and how to overcome the environmental problems.

Well coordinated land use plan worked as a tool to separate residential areas from commercial and industrial areas in order to keep residential areas quiet and clean.

Well considered transportation plan made it possible for workers to commute to their offices and factories from quiet residential areas.

Well discussed regulation to control the source of noise, air pollution, water pollution, vibration, bad odor, soil pollution and land subsidence, which are called seven basic sources of public nuisance in Japan, reduced the outflow of harmful effect from industries and transportation modes including automobiles, airplane and railways.

Well planned and well maintained monitoring stations work very well to give the feeling of the responsibility of each company and to inform people the real time situation of air pollution, water pollution, and etc.

This report tries to reveal how Kawasaki City and Yokkaichi City overcame the environmental problems and to review the preferable policy to realize sustainable urban areas in coming century.

2 Case Study in Kawasaki City

Outlook of Kawasaki City

Kawasaki City is located just next to Tokyo 23 special wards which has the population of about 8 million, at the distance of about 15 kilometers south west from down town Tokyo. The city area extends north-west to south-east along the Tamagawa River for about 30 kilometers with the width of about 3 to 5 kilometers. This means that the city area is narrow and long and lies between Tokyo and Yokohama City which is the second biggest city in Japan, exceeding Osaka City, with the population of about 3 million.

The population of Kawasaki City is about 1.2 million and the area is about 144 square kilometers. This city is located at the neck of Tokaido heavily industrialized area and many connectors between Tokyo and Osaka are crossing the area. For example, national highway route No. 1, Tomei national express way, Tokaido railway line, Tokaido Shinkansen and many other railways and highways connecting Tokyo and western region including Yokohama City are crossing. This is the reason why this area has been developed from early time of 20th century.

Industrial areas are located mainly at the south-east coastal region and residential areas have been developed north-west where the commuting trains between Tokyo and Yokohama are crossing.

The History of Environmental Problems in Kawasaki City

Kawasaki Town, which was a tourist, farming and fishing town between Tokyo and Yokohama before 19th century, had been trying to invite factories early 20th century and environmental problems started at the same time. The first food production factory started to operate at the mouth of the Tamagawa River In 1914. Despite of the company’s promise to prevent the exhaust of chlorine gas and bad water, some damage on agricultural products caused by chlorine gas was reported in 1916. In 1917, a cement factory established at the coastal area caused big damage on fruit trees because of the industrial dust from the factory. Some farmers submitted the appeal document to the governor in 1923 and this was the first citizen demonstration of environmental problems in Kawasaki City. In Japan, there were some other public demonstrations around 1900 against the damage caused by mining companies in mountainous regions.

Official investigations started in 1955 right after Korea War when fruit trees got big damage by harmful industrial dust. The Special Committee of City Congress was formed in 1955 and “Kawasaki City Ordinance to Prevent Environmental Problems” were enacted in 1960.

On the other hand, national government established “The Law to Control the Exhaust of Smoke and Soot” in 1962. Despite of such efforts made by the local and central governments, the environmental condition in Kawasaki City had been worsened, and the city decided to introduce automatic monitoring system for sulfur de-oxide, smoke and soot since 1965. The city also started the official identification system of health damaged people caused by the air pollution in 1969 followed by the negotiation with big 37 companies and 39 factories to establish the agreement with them to prevent the air pollution. In 1971, the central government transferred its partial legal power to local governments through the amendment of laws. The city ordinance introduced in 1972 was one of the most strict one in Japan and the city started the total volume control of the exhaust of harmful gas in the city and strengthened the monitoring stations. In the same year, mercury was detected from the bed of the river, and the city enforced the three companies who consume mercury in the production process to conclude agreements on mercury. The number of people who were officially identified as disease grew over 2,000 in 1974, and the national compensation system for the health care for those people was applied for the first time within the Kawasaki City area.

Meanwhile, national government established “The Basic Law to Prevent Public Nuisance” in 1967, “Environmental Standard for Sulfur De-oxide” in 1969, and amended environment related laws and regulations in 1970.

“The City Ordinance of Environmental Impact Assessment” was introduced in 1976 as the first case in the country.

Present Situation in Kawasaki City

The output of surfer oxide by year is as follows.

 Tab. 1 Yearly Output of Sulfur Oxide in Kawasaki City

YearOutput by ton per year

The data of monitoring stations for sulfur de-oxide in 1996 showed the satisfactory result. That is, the daily average, excluding the extreme 2 %, at every station showed 0.10 ppm ~ 0.018 ppm. These are under the target of 0.04 ppm of daily average.

The output of nitrogen oxide is shown by Tab. 2.

Tab. 2 Yearly Output of Nitrogen Oxide in Kawasaki City

YearOutput by ton per year

The data of monitoring stations for nitrogen de-oxide in 1996 showed the unsatisfactory result. That is, the daily average, excluding the extreme 2 %, of monitoring stations showed 0.063 ppm ~ 0.048 ppm. These are over the target of 0.04 ppm of daily average.

The output of floating soot, which diameter is 0.01 ~ 10 micro meter, is shown by Tab. 3.

Tab. 3 Yearly Output of Floating Soot in Kawasaki City

YearOutput by ton per year

The result of monitoring stations in 1996 was not satisfactory because they showed the daily average, excluding the extreme 2 %, of 0.097 ~ 0.122 mg/m3 some of which are over the target of 0.10 in spite of some stations showing 0.097 ~ 0.10.

The result of monitoring stations of carbon monoxide is satisfactory. The data in 1996 showed the daily average, excluding the extreme 2 %, of 1.6 ~ 2.7 ppm and below the target of 10 ppm.

As a whole, environmental condition in Kawasaki City is almost satisfactory in these days and we cannot forget the various efforts made by the city government.

3 Case Study in Yokkaichi City

Yokkaichi City has the population of about 290 thousand and the area of 197 square kilometers, and located about 30 km south west of Nagoya City which is the fourth biggest city in Japan with the population of about 2 million after Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

The development of Yokkaichi City was a little later than Kawasaki City and started in 1953 when Mie Prefecture started its development policy along the seashore of Ise Bay Area. The first combined factories were established in 1956 in the coastal area of 100 ha with a big oil factory and related 11 chemical factories and an electric power plant. The second combined factories came in 1963, and the third in 1972. Then Yokkaichi City became one of the biggest industrial area in Japan. The history of fighting with the environmental problems is almost the same as the case of Kawasaki City. Therefore, some other important records will be introduced here.

The first problem was the bad smell of the fish caught in Ise Bay area. In 1958, Tokyo fishery market noticed some strange smell of the fish came from Ise Bay and rejected their sales. Then the total fishery product in Ise Bay area decreased from 17,000 ton in 1956 to 4,000 ton in 1959. Mie prefectural government started the investigation and decided that the cause of smell was waste water from combined factories based on the result of gas chromatography analysis. The comment of the oil company was that they imported the American system together with the American standard on waste water and that the company was not responsible for such fish problems. American system was simple separation of oil and water and not enough for the Japanese case. Then, the Research Institute of Enzyme, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, started to develop the technique of bio-treatment method. Finally, Chubu Electric Power Company paid compensation to the fishery union in 1964 and the number of fisher men decreased greatly. Later on, governmental strict regulation on waste water was started and advanced technique of waste water treatment was introduced by each company.

Next problem was the air pollution. Some strange smell like bad eggs started in 1962. One episode is like this. When a train of Kintetsu Line came to the area, passengers noticed some strong smell and reported to the driver. The train stopped and the driver checked wheels and brakes but found nothing bad. Passengers said that it might not be caused by the train but by the factories around there.

Professor Yoshida, Nagoya University, pointed out that the crude petroleum produced in Arabic counties, from where Japan imported most of oil, contained more amount of sulfur than that of the other areas. Then, the existing technique could not eliminate sulfur enough from exhaust gas.

Meanwhile, the number of asthmatic patient increased in the area and reached the patient share of 2.3 % of the area population. Detected sulphurous acid gas in the area was 5.44 mg per 100 square centimeter and was much higher than 3.69 in Kawasaki City and 1.43 in Nagoya City in 1962. Professor Yoshida also reported that pH of acid rain in the area reached to 4. This was the first report on acid rain in Japan, and the automatic detector of SO2 by means of electric conductivity method was developed for the first time.

The first counter measure for air pollution was to raise the height of the chimney. 14 high chimneys, from 95 meters to 130 meters high, were constructed in the area by the end of 1966 and resulted in the wide spread of air polluted area.

The second counter measure was the total amount control of exhaust of sulphurous acid gas enacted in 1971.

The total investment of the factories in the area to satisfy the regulation, by 1966, reached to the amount of 6 billion yen, this would be about more than 60 billion yen or about 5 hundred million US dollars by the present value. This includes both for the protection of air pollution and water pollution.

4 Conclusion

Environmental problems in Japanese urban area started in middle 1950s when Japan started her remarkable economic development. The first notice of danger always came from residents, and municipalities followed. The central government established National Environmental Protection Agency in 1971 and established various legal system to protect urban environment based on the experience of municipalities and foreign countries.

Legal system under the Basic Law to Prevent Public Nuisance consists of environmental standard, regulation of exhaust gas, regulation of waste water, regulation of soil pollution, regulation of noise, regulation of vibration, regulation of land subsidence, regulation of bad odor, regulation of chemical products, regulation of agricultural medicine and fertilizers, regulation of garbage and waste materials, land use planning, promotion of environmental improvement projects, financial support for factories and identified patients, and adjustment of disputes.

Japanese industries faced difficult years since 1973 when the most of the above mentioned legal system were enacted, but finally they overcame these problems by investing much for the environmental protection and developing new technologies in this field.

Tab. 4 National Increase of De-Sulfur and De-Nitrogen Facilities

Year  De-Sulfur Capacity ofExhaust Gas  De-Sulfur Capacity ofCrude Petroleum  De-Nitrogen Capacityof Exhaust Gas  
103Nm3/hour  103kl/year  103Nm3/hour  
1968  8,444  —  
1973  28,849  49,997  408  
1978  114,844  81,290  22,153  
1983  129,051  81,232*  95,142  
1988  175,733  —  142,200  

(* Because of the decrease of total consumption of petroleum, NEPA Data)