Try our corporate solution for free!
(212) 419-8294

Pollution in Japan - statistics & facts

Rapid industrial development, economic growth, and the increase of the country's population have influenced the environment in Japan over the past decades. Air, land, and marine pollution have become major issues, causing health problems, and contributing to climate change.
In addition to pollution caused by human activity, natural disasters contribute to environmental pollution. Due to its geographical position, the island nation is vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions. In recent years, earth and stone debris accounted for the largest share of waste generated by disasters.

Main causes for environmental pollution

Air pollution is one of the major environmental issues in Japan. The number of deaths attributable to air pollution has been rising continuously over the past decade. A major cause of air pollution is fossil fuel combustion, which is produced from power plants, industrial facilities, and automobiles. Therefore, most pollution areas are highly populated, urban areas.
The energy conversion sector was the main polluting sector in Japan, causing most carbon dioxide emissions. After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, nuclear energy was replaced by fossil fuels such as coal and gas, resulting in increased emissions shortly after the disaster.
Another environmental issue that is caused by human activity is the waste pollution of land and oceans. Japan represents one of the largest producers and consumers of plastic products, resulting in large amounts of plastic waste. Microplastic pollution poses a threat both to the health of animals and humans, as the tiny pieces of degraded plastic absorb harmful chemicals that end up in the food chain.
With the incineration rate of municipal waste increasing to over 70 percent, incineration was the most widely used waste treatment method, as it can easily reduce the volume of waste. Despite filtering technologies, the incineration process produces greenhouse gases that contribute to air pollution and climate change. 

 Measures to reduce pollution

Following the increasing number of marine pollution cases alongside the rapid industrialization, the Japanese government enacted the Water Pollution Control Law in 1970. The law prohibits the discharge of wastewater that does not meet the effluent water quality standards.
As a measure to reduce waste pollution, the Japanese government currently promotes the so-called 3R initiative, which encourages businesses and citizens to focus on the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste. However, the recycling rate of Japan's total waste has remained low at around 20 percent over the past decade.
To improve the air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the country focuses on diversifying its energy mix, with an increased nuclear and renewable energy share. In recent years, figures indicated a decline of the total annual greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, there was international criticism that Japan's measures are not sufficient to counteract climate change.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Pollution in Japan".


Get in touch with us. We are happy to help.
Statista Locations
Contact Vianny Gutierrez-Cruz
Vianny Gutierrez-Cruz
Sales Manager– Contact (United States)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)

Contact Ziyan Zhang
Ziyan Zhang
Customer Relations– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 11:30am - 10pm (IST)

Contact Kisara Mizuno
Kisara Mizuno
Customer Success Manager– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5:30pm (JST)

Contact Lodovica Biagi
Lodovica Biagi
Director of Operations– Contact (Europe)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5pm (GMT)

Contact Carolina Dulin
Carolina Dulin
Associate Director - LAC– Contact (Latin America)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)