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Home > Outline of Japan's Industrial Pollution Abatement > Approaches to Air pollution Control (Case Study-1) Yokkaichi City, Mie prefecture > (4) Fact-finding Survey by Local Governments

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Update:April 1, 2010

(4) Fact-finding Survey by Local Governments

1.Construction of Petrochemical Complexes and the Outset of Pollution

Confronting these serious pollution problems, Mie Prefecture and Yokkaichi City responded quickly, which brought them satisfactory results in pollution control at later stages. As a part of the above efforts, Yokkaichi City organized the Yokkaichi City Environmental Pollution Control Measures Committee in August 1960 to investigate the actual state of pollution in the city. They stated in their interim report issued in 1960 that "Isozu District has SO2 concentrations nearly 6 times as high as those in other parts of the city", and concluded their investigation in 1961, describing that "the mortality due to respiratory or circulatory diseases in Yokkaichi have a marked tendency to increase". On the basis of the above reports, Mie Prefecture and Yokkaichi City has requested the national government to designate Yokkaichi as "a target area" prescribed in the Soot and Smoke Regulation Law.
In the absence of systems to regulate emissions of soot and smoke from industrial activities, pollution intensified day by day in Yokkaichi. Attaching great importance to the matter and taking into account the request from Mie Prefecture and Yokkaichi City, the national government organized the Special Survey Council on Yokkaichi Area Air Pollution to dispatch a group of investigators to the polluted area. The council started assessment of the state of the pollution in 1963, and in the succeeding year in March 1964, concluded their report stating fundamental duties of industry and administration in pollution controls. The report also included recommendations itemized into 10 points such as the designation of Yokkaichi Area as "a target area" of the Soot and Smoke Regulation Law, introduction of taller smokestacks to diffuse or dilute flue gas, and installation or improvement of air pollution monitoring networks. The report was intended to urge the national government to review its industrial policy, suggesting "the future direction of Japan's industrial pollution controls" based on past experiences of Yokkaichi as a victim of serious air pollution.
In Yokkaichi, the atmospheric and aquatic environment was heavily polluted by oily waste water, soot and dust, SO2, and other materials released from industrial activities. This fact was chiefly attributed to rapid industrialization during the process of the post-war high growth of the economy to construct enormous industrial complexes without recognizing the effect upon the surrounding environments or taking proper precautionary measures.