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

  • Kentaro Funaki
  • Lucas Adams


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.


Solar Power Photovoltaic System Renewable Portfolio Standard Fukuoka Prefecture Gunma Prefecture 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

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

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