Sustainability Science

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 85–93 | Cite as

Environmental restoration of Minamata: new thinking brings new advances

Overview Article


This paper discusses the idea of environmental restoration and the creation of sustainable cities of industry and culture by spotlighting how the city of Minamata, Japan, which was severely affected by environmental damage, is rejuvenating itself by means of a unique strategy based on a new way of thinking and the fostering of human resources. Taking its lead from the concept of environmental capacity building, this paper focuses on environmental restoration as (1) a mending process for the social environment and human relationships, (2) a strategy of actor participation, particularly citizen participation, in environmental restoration, and (3) a role for human resource development.


Minamata Environmental restoration Sustainable city 



I am grateful for the support of Kumamoto Prefecture (Takayuki Kumamoto), the City of Minamata (Tetsuro Yoshimoto), Masazumi Yoshii, Soshia (Kunio Endo), Hotto House (Takeko Kato), Chisso Minamata Factory, Act-be Recycling, Tanaka Company, RBS, Replatech, Shin’ichiro Kogata, Kiyota Kogata, Toshio Yoshinaga, Asari Ori, Hajime Sugimoto, Kiyokata Maruta, Toru Sawahata, and Haruyo Yoshida.


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Copyright information

© Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science and Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public PolicyHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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