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Environmental management in Japan - statistics & facts

In March 2020, the Japanese government announced a general policy update for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) agreed upon in the Paris Agreement. The NDC update kept the short-term goal of a 26 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction by 2030 (first announced in 2015) and added a long-term goal of an 80 percent GHG reduction by 2050. This announcement followed significant struggles to lower carbon dioxide emissions after 2011. Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and subsequent suspension of domestic nuclear power generation, Japan increased the usage of fossil energy for its primary energy supply, at more than 85 percent in 2018 compared to around 81.5 percent in 2009. Japan was, therefore, one of the countries which generated the highest share of carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. To counter this problem, Japan aims to increase the share of renewable energies to 23 percent by 2030.

Waste management

Further frequently discussed environmental issues in Japan are waste disposal and a pertinent shortage of landfill sites. Japan is one of the highest generators of single-use plastic waste and the largest exporters of plastic waste to other countries. To reduce waste in general, the Japanese government introduced the 3R policy -reduce, reuse, and recycle - in 2000 and has been working on lessening the amount of disposable waste. Although the volume of final waste disposal and the average daily volume of waste per capita have been declining, the recycling rate of total waste has remained stable at about 20 percent in the last decade. The government prohibited all retail shops in the country from distributing plastic shopping bags for free starting from July 2020 with the aim of reducing plastic waste.

Water management

During the period of rapid economic growth and industrialization from the 1950s to 1970s, Japan experienced serious water pollution problems. Neurological Minamata disease, caused by severe mercury poisoning, for example, was detected in Kumamoto and Niigata Prefecture. Industrial wastewater produced high levels of mercury in water and affected the food chain and thousands of citizens in the area. As a direct consequence, the government enacted the Water Pollution Prevention Act and began to regulate public water and groundwater quality in 1970. Rivers, lakes, seas, and groundwater in the country are now constantly monitored to ensure human health and environmental protection standards are met. Despite these measures, the water quality in closed water areas, such as lakes and inland sea, still face challenges like over-fertilization and do not entirely meet the set environmental standards. As of 2018, more than 79 percent of the wastewater in Japan was treated in sewage treatment plants. Close to 6,000 water purification plants in the country continuously purify and control the quality of drinking water. As a result, 98 percent of Japanese citizens have access to drinkable tap water.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Environmental management in Japan" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Consumption and waste

Recycling of home appliances

Public opinion

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Environmental management in Japan".

Environmental management in Japan

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Environmental management in Japan - statistics & facts

In March 2020, the Japanese government announced a general policy update for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) agreed upon in the Paris Agreement. The NDC update kept the short-term goal of a 26 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction by 2030 (first announced in 2015) and added a long-term goal of an 80 percent GHG reduction by 2050. This announcement followed significant struggles to lower carbon dioxide emissions after 2011. Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and subsequent suspension of domestic nuclear power generation, Japan increased the usage of fossil energy for its primary energy supply, at more than 85 percent in 2018 compared to around 81.5 percent in 2009. Japan was, therefore, one of the countries which generated the highest share of carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. To counter this problem, Japan aims to increase the share of renewable energies to 23 percent by 2030.

Waste management

Further frequently discussed environmental issues in Japan are waste disposal and a pertinent shortage of landfill sites. Japan is one of the highest generators of single-use plastic waste and the largest exporters of plastic waste to other countries. To reduce waste in general, the Japanese government introduced the 3R policy -reduce, reuse, and recycle - in 2000 and has been working on lessening the amount of disposable waste. Although the volume of final waste disposal and the average daily volume of waste per capita have been declining, the recycling rate of total waste has remained stable at about 20 percent in the last decade. The government prohibited all retail shops in the country from distributing plastic shopping bags for free starting from July 2020 with the aim of reducing plastic waste.

Water management

During the period of rapid economic growth and industrialization from the 1950s to 1970s, Japan experienced serious water pollution problems. Neurological Minamata disease, caused by severe mercury poisoning, for example, was detected in Kumamoto and Niigata Prefecture. Industrial wastewater produced high levels of mercury in water and affected the food chain and thousands of citizens in the area. As a direct consequence, the government enacted the Water Pollution Prevention Act and began to regulate public water and groundwater quality in 1970. Rivers, lakes, seas, and groundwater in the country are now constantly monitored to ensure human health and environmental protection standards are met. Despite these measures, the water quality in closed water areas, such as lakes and inland sea, still face challenges like over-fertilization and do not entirely meet the set environmental standards. As of 2018, more than 79 percent of the wastewater in Japan was treated in sewage treatment plants. Close to 6,000 water purification plants in the country continuously purify and control the quality of drinking water. As a result, 98 percent of Japanese citizens have access to drinkable tap water.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Environmental management in Japan".

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