Japanese Experience with Efforts at the Community Level Toward a Sustainable Economy: Accelerating Collaboration Between Local and Central Governments



Living in a country with limited natural resources and high population density, the people of Japan had to work on sustainability throughout their history as a matter of necessity. With scarcity of arable land – some 70–80% of the land is mountainous or forested and thus unsuitable for agricultural or residential use – people clustered in the habitable areas, and farmers had to make each acre as productive as possible. The concept of “no waste” was developed early on, as a particularly telling, literal example; the lack of large livestock meant each bit of human waste in a village had to be recycled for use as fertilizer. Along with creating this general need for conservation, living in close proximity to others inspired a culture in which individuals take special care in the effect their actions have on both the surrounding people and the environment. As such, a desire for harmony with others went hand in hand with a traditional desire for harmony with nature. Nature came to be thought of as sacred, and to come into contact with nature was to experience the divine. Centuries-old customs of cherry blossom or moon-viewing attest to the special place nature has traditionally held in the Japanese hearts.


Biomass Combustion Europe Lithium Expense 


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    Kitakyushu Eco-Town website (Japanese): http://www.kitaq-ecotown.com/eco-town/1-2.html Kitakyushu Eco-Town website (English): http://www.kitaq-ecotown.com/about/english/
  3. 3.
    Kitakyushu Eco-conbinato website (Japanese): http://www.kitaq-ecotown.com/eco-conbi/a/index.html
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    METI report on Next-Generation Energy Parks: http://www.enecho.meti.go.jp/080710energy-park.pdf
  7. 7.
    Japan Times article: “METI plans subsidies for home solar power” (06/25/08) http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20080625a4.html
  8. 8.
    Reuters article: “Japan to bring back solar subsidy for homes” (12/24/08) http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4BN1U820081224
  9. 9.
    NEEDO summary of the Ota City Demonstrative Project: http://www.nedo.go.jp/english/activities/portal/gaiyou/p02050/p02050.html
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    Nikkei BP.net article on the megasolar Ota City solar project: http://eco.nikkeibp.co.jp/style/eco/special/081104_mega-solar04/index.html
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    Report from Prime Minister’s office on Environmental Model Cities program: http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/tiiki/080722kankyo-kouhyo.pdf
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
  16. 16.
    “Invitation to ‘Cool Earth 50’”, speech by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/abespeech/2007/05/24speech_e.html

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Japan External Trade OrganizationLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.JETROLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations