Umweltverschmutzung und Umweltschutz in Japan

  • Peter Janocha (Author)

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Kogai is the Japanese word for environmental pollution and stands for water-, air-, and soil pollution, noise, vibration, ground subsidence, and offensive odors. The genesis of pollution started in 1956 in the town of Minamata on Kyushu with the “Minamata-disease”, caused by mercury poisoning through factory effluents. Other sensational cases of pollution were the “Itai itai-disease” in Toyama-Prefecture, caused by cadmium-poisoning and the “Yokkaichi- asthma”. The Japanese industries for a long time hesitated in taking a positive attitude towards antipollution activities; they pursued rather a defense policy against governmental antipoilution policies. Antipollution policy in Japan up to the 1960’s was mainly concentrated on the prefectural Governments. Real Government policy started in 1967 with the promulgation of the “Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control”. Other milestones were the package of 14 antipollution laws of December 1970 and the establishment of the “Environment Agency” in July 1971. Governmental expenditures for antipollution up to now remained rather modest. Emphasis was laid on intensive surveys and investigations, formulation of “Environmental Pollution Control Programs”, environmental quality standards, and emission control facilities.