Development and Environment in Japan

  • Yuzuru Hanayama (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Japan has been running along the course of economic growth with the highest speed in the world during the last two decades. And it is said that in the result of this Japan has suffered from many distortions, e.g. inflation, high concentration of population into a few large cities including housing problems and so forth; but among them, the gravest one is environmental disruption. In this paper I will try to explicate the causality between economic growth and environmental disruption in Japan. One can easily give some examples which show the correlation between economic growth and environmental disruption. It is well known that the elasticity of energy consumption to GNP is approximately 1 as to a nation. In fact, energy consumption in Japan has been increasing with an average rate of 13.2 per cent per year from 1960 to 1969 (during the same period the consumption of electric energy has been increasing by 12.4 per cent) while the rate of growth of GNP was 10.9 per cent (in real terms). Although the ratio of petroleum in the total energy has been increasing in this period, in the short run we can say that there is a linear relation between petroleum consumption and economic growth, and as the sulphur content in the imported petroleum to Japan is approximately 2.5 per cent, the volume of sulphur-dioxide discharged from factories and power plants into the air increases as GNP goes up. The same we can say about water. Water consumption also increases as the GNP increases in some area. And it is known that if the content of phosphorus compound or nitrogen compound in wasted water has reached 2 ppm. the water condition of the sea or lake becomes worse with economic growth even if the water is dispursed by the ordinary process, for the ordinary water dispursing process can remove carbohydrate but cannot remove neither phosphorus nor nitrogen compound from the water.