History of Environmental Protection


  1. Changes in Pollutants over Time
  2. Measures Classified by Field
  3. Developments in Environment Policy Administration

1.Changes in Pollutants over Time

Changes in Pollutants over Time

from 1 | return top

2.Measures Classified by Field

 General Measures


 Enactment of the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control 

 The Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control was enacted in 1967 in order to resolve fundamental pollution problems, extending beyond direct control of pollution sources, through systematic and total administrative action. At that time, pollution of the air by sulfur oxides emitted by petroleum complexes in various parts of Japan had become worse. At the same time, "red tides" of oxygen-depleting algae and plankton that occurred in small, localized areas began to spread widely, such as in closed water areas, and reached unprecedented proportions.
 Until the enactment of the Basic Pollution Control Law, anti-pollution measures in Japan were based on regulations of each type of pollution source by laws such as "Law Concerning Regulation of Smoke and Soot Emission," "Law Concerning Preservation of Water Quality in Public-Use Waters," etc.
 Basic Pollution Control Law
・ Established environmental standards as "standards for the environment recommended for protection of human health and preservation of the living environment".
・ Introduced pollution control plans to implement comprehensive measures and legislation of various regulatory laws conforming to the spirit and objective of the Law, including the Air Pollution Control Law and Noise Regulation Law.


 Enactment of Osaka Prefectural Ordinances on Pollution Control

 In the Osaka area, heavy machinery and chemical industries developed chiefly in coastal areas from the 1950s to 1960s, causing serious air pollution by sulfur oxides and water pollution with factory effluents.
 With urbanization, new pollution emerged in the late 1960s, such as photochemical fog, noise from late-night business operations, and industrial wastes.
 To address this problem, Osaka Prefectural Government revamped its Business Establishment Pollution Control Ordinance passed in 1950, 1969 and 1971, renaming it as "Osaka Prefectural Pollution Control Ordinance." The ordinance is characterized by the following:
 1. Policy placing priority on protection of the residents' health was established.
 2. All manufacturing plants and business establishments were required to conform with the regulatory standards (in the past, specified  plants with specified equipment only).
 3. In addition to air and water pollutions and noise problems, the Ordinate restricts soil contamination, land subsidence, and various other environmental problems.
 4. Business enterprises were obliged to exert their utmost efforts on pollution control.
 5. To enhance regulation effectiveness, standards were established not only on stricter emission standards but also on facilities, fuel, and raw materials.
 6. In addition, regulations have been applied to commercial broadcasting, late-night business operation and construction work, open-air burning, etc.
 7. Measures were implemented to subsidize small-scale business enterprises (mediation in funding, technical assistance, etc.)
 8. Progress in implementation of pollution control measures is reported annually to the Prefectural Assembly.


  Establishment of Osaka Prefectural Environment Control Plan (Big Plan)

 In Osaka, primary industries changed from light industries to heavy, petrochemical industries during the 1950's and 1960's.      This change resulted in an increase of various industrial pollution problems, including those associated with the mass consumption of petroleum, and the pollution of PCB and heavy metals. As well, in large cities, the concentration of population caused traffic noise, automobile emission pollution, water pollution, and other urban environmental problems.
 Since these problems require long-term remedial measures, Osaka Prefecture prepared the ten-year comprehensive anti-pollution program, Big Plan.
 The most outstanding feature of the Big Plan is that, in addition to existing regulations are needed on pollutant concentration, it has adopted measures to control the area-wide total pollutants load, i.e. the total amount of air and water pollutants that can be endured in the Osaka area, which is calculated based on the "environmental assimilating capacity" concept.
(Environmental Assimilating Capacity)
 In areas like Osaka, where many pollutant sources are concentrated, emission controls at individual sources sometimes cannot prevent an increase in total pollution. Accordingly, regulations are needed on total emission of area-wide pollutants, in addition to existing regulations on pollutant concentration. The environmental assimilating capacity provides a basis for this total pollutant load.
(Big Plan) 
B  stands for the Blue sky and sea;
 I  stands for Industrial waste control;
 G  stands for Green land and mountains.


     Establishment of Osaka Prefectural  Environment Plan (STEP 21)

 Although environmental conditions in the Osaka region are gradually improving, there remain several unsolved problems, including air and water pollution, and traffic nuisance caused by motor vehicles. In addition, there are increasing problems caused by daily life activities, such as the water pollution caused by household wastewater and noise of daily life activities.
 Meanwhile, citizens of Osaka have begun to demand for an amenity-rich living environment, such as clean water, abundant greenery, and beautiful streets, in addition to a pollution-free environment. In response, Osaka Prefecture has adopted the STEP 21 Plan, a comprehensive program including various measures to be taken in the coming ten years, after the completion of the Big Plan.
 The plan features not only anti-pollution measures but also the creation of a comfortable, amenity-rich environment, where citizens can relax and refresh themselves. Particular emphasis is on the development of waterfront parks and greenery zones, and the preservation of historical sites.
 As a means to preserve and secure an amenity-rich environment, the Plan aims at the establishment of a comprehensive environmental management system, comprising an environmental impact assessment system; area-wide environmental monitoring systems; and an environmental information system that can systematize local environmental information.
(STEP 21)
 STEP 21 stands for Systematic Total Environment Plan for the 21st Century. At the same time, this title implies that this Plan marks the first step toward the 21st century.


 Establishment of the Environmental Impact Assessment Code

 More and more importance is being placed on the necessity of environmental assessment which surveys, predictions, and assessments beforehand the environmental impact of all types of development projects which are feared might cause substantial damage to the environment, in order to prevent pollution of the environment.
 Osaka Prefecture, recognizing the need for a unified environmental assessment system, established the Osaka Prefecture Environmental Impact Assessment Code in 1984

        Consultative talks on the "Policy for Environmental Impact Assessment Code System" to Osaka Prefectural Environmental Pollution Control Council
 Report on "Policy for the System"
 Establishment of the Osaka Prefecture Environmental Impact Assessment Code System and partial implementation of the Code System
 April Establishment of Technical Guidelines and full implementation of the Code System
 Partial modification (additional coverage of heliports on the ground and recreational facilities such as golf links) implemented in July 1990
 Partial modification (addition of "Plan on Wastes") of the Code System
 The Environmental Impact Assessment Code discontinued upon implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
[ Developments in the National Government ]
"The Implementation Scheme of Environmental Impact Assessment" approved by the cabinet as a standard rule for environmental impact assessment by the national government

          Consultation talks on "Policy for Environmental Impact Assessment Code System" with Central Pollution Control Council
 Environmental impact assessment bill submitted to Diet
 Bill scrapped due to incomplete review of the bill
 Cabinet approval of the Implementation Scheme of Environmental Impact Assessment
 The Implementation Scheme of Environmental Impact Assessment Enforcement Plan discontinued upon implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Law


 Enactment of Basic Environment Law

 In Japan, the Basic Environment Law, enacted in 1993, determined a new framework of environmental policies that cover measures for preserving natural and global environment, as well as various anti-pollution regulations.
 Today's environmental problems have surfaced as the increased loads on environment resulting from daily social and economic activities. These problems, featuring a global scale and a tremendous impact on future generations, are extremely difficult to tackle with conventional anti-pollution regulations.
 The Basic Environment Law has introduced the following measures:

    •     International cooperation on global environmental preservation
 Promotion of the use of products that are effective in reducing environmental loads
 Economic measures (including the discussion on environmental tax)
 Environmental education and seminars
 Support of voluntary activities of private groups


 Enactment of Osaka Prefectural Basic Environment Ordinance

 Current global environmental problems are attributable to social and economic activities and lifestyle of citizens, which have their basis in mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal. This is evident when we think of air and water pollution caused by motor vehicle emission and household wastewater respectively. To address such environmental problems, it is necessary to change social and economic activities and lifestyle of citizens, in addition to imposing regulations on factories and other pollution sources.
 At the same time, there is an increasing citizens' demand for high-quality, comfortable urban environment abundant with greenery and waterfront areas.
 In response to such diversified situations and citizens' demands, Osaka Prefecture enacted Osaka Prefectural Basic Environment Ordinance in March 1994, as a means to promote Prefectural environmental policies comprehensively and systematically.
 This Ordinance stipulates basic concepts and policies to promote environmental measures, under the slogan "Preservation and Creation of Amenity-rich Environment for Active Communication." The Ordinance has the following features:

1)   In addition to environmental preservation, active "creation" of environment is aimed.
2)The Ordinance stipulates environmental rights.
3)The term "environment" implies multiple scopes, including daily-life environment, natural environment, urban environment, and global environment.
4)To promote environmental policies comprehensively and systematically, the Ordinance stipulates the preparation of a comprehensive environmental plan.
---> Comprehensive environmental plan was finalized in March 1996.
5)To promote liaison and coordination among Prefectural organizations, the Ordinance stipulates the formation of a new organization.
---> Osaka Prefectural Environmental Policies Promotion Committee was formed in May 1994.
6)To reduce environmental loads caused by business activities, the Ordinance stipulates the introduction of environmental managers.
7)The Ordinance stipulates the formation of a system to combine efforts of citizens and enterprises in the Prefecture.
---> The Osaka Prefectural Citizens' Meeting for Environmental Creation was formed in November 1994.


 Enactment of Osaka Prefectural Ordinance Concerning Life Environment Preservation

 Based on the philosophy of the Osaka Prefectural Basic Environment Ordinance, the Osaka Prefectural Ordinance Concerning Life Environment Preservation was enacted in November 1994. To preserve daily-life environment and to ensure citizens healthy life by maintaining optimal air, water, and soil conditions, the Osaka Prefectural Ordinance Concerning Life Environment Preservation stipulates anti-pollution regulations and other measures to promote daily-life environment preservation, based on the comprehensive review of conventional anti-pollution ordinances.
 The characteristics of the Ordinance are as follows:

1)   Promotion of measures to preserve daily-life environment
 In addition to the preservation of air and water quality, the Ordinance stipulates the promotion of daily-life related measures, such as the measures against motor vehicle emission, and measures to reduce garbage and other wastes.
2)Original regulations of the Prefecture
 The Ordinance stipulates regulations on specific substances and facilities, in response to the specific conditions within the Prefecture. The substances regulated under the Ordinance include various harmful substances and hydrocarbons.
3)Preparation of effective and appropriate pollution control
 Based on the study on environmental situations and anti-pollution technologies available in Osaka Prefecture, the Ordinance stipulates the most effective and appropriate regulations on each environmental element: air, water, land, noise, and vibration. At the same time, the Ordinance avoids duplication of other laws and regulations. To promote the effect, techniques to decrease loads on environment are introduced.


 Establishment of Comprehensive Environmental Plan

 "Under Construction"


 Establishment of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance and the Environmental Impact Assessment Law

 Environmental assessment is a system whose purpose is to ensure proper consideration for environmental protection by first performing a preliminary assessment of the environmental impact caused by implementation of projects feared to be harmful to the environment, followed in turn by a follow-up survey after implementation has begun.
 Japan had accepted the General Environmental Impact Assessment Enforcement Plan by cabinet decision in 1984, but spurred on by the solidification of promotion of environmental assessment in the Basic Environmental Law, deliberations over revision of the system began, leading to the establishment of the Environmental Impact Assessment Law in 1997 and its full enforcement in 1999.
 At the same time, the establishment of the Osaka Prefectural Environmental Impact Assessment Code in 1984 produced a certain amount of results in the area of environmental protection within the prefecture.
  However, the findings of the Osaka Prefecture Advisory Council on Pollution Countermeasures, and the establishment of the Osaka Prefecture Basic Environmental Ordinance, the Osaka Prefecture Administrative Procedure Ordinance, and the Environmental Impact Assessment Law, along with others, have led to higher demand for a strengthening of the environmental assessment system.
 For this reason, the Osaka Prefecture Environmental Advisory Council was consulted regarding the shape of the environmental impact assessment system in Osaka Prefecture in 1997, and based on its findings, the Osaka Prefecture Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance was established in 1998, with full enforcement of this system going into effect beginning in 1999.

Outline of Measures against Air Pollution

 In the 1960s, the aspect of major air pollution changed from "visible" one due to soot and dust "invisible" one derived from sulfer dioxide. In the 1970s, the air pollution was accelerated by the construction of industrial complexes in the coastal industrial zone.
As gray smog appeared due to sulfer dioxide in winter, we could not see Osaka Castle from the Prefectural Office Osaka in a distance of 100m. Such situation ofen continued for several days. The first smog warning was issued in the winter in 1970, and the government required the big companies to switch fuels to low-sulfer ones as an emergency action.

Outline of Measures against Air Pollution

 In these situations, the Osaka prefectural government designed and implemented a specific air pollution control program, entitled "Blue Sky Project", to regulate sulfer content in fuel oil used at factories in the urban area such as Osaka City so as to attain the environmental standard of atmospheric sulfer oxides.
 Moreover, for 4 years from 1971, the government implemented active inspection and analyses of pollutants at emission sources over 20,000 factories and conduct regulation, recommendations or suggestions to improve production processes and air pollutant emission at the sources. These regulatory efforts resulted in remarkable decrease of sulfer oxides in the latter 1970s.
 However, due to the increase in the number of motor vehicles, nitrogen oxides have begun to surface as a major pollutant of the air. In 1971, the first photochemical smog was observed in Osaka; it was found to affect human health.
 Current attention is focused on the measures against nitrogen oxides emitted from motor vehicles, as well as the regulations on factories and workshops.

List of Regulatory Measures under the Air Pollution Control Law


Regulated substancesExampleRegulatory standardRegulatory measures,
So2 , So3Emission standards
(load regulations, K value method,
total pollutant load regulation)
Improvement order,
direct application of
punishment provisions,
Soot and
Such as sootEmission standards
(emission concentration regulation:
by type, scale, etc., of facility)
Improvement order,
direct application
of punishment
provisions, etc.

NOx, Cd, Pb,
Hf, Cl2,Hcl,etc.

Emission concentration regulation
(concentration regulation: by type
of substance, facility, etc.; total
pollutant load regulation for NOx
as well)
Improvement order,
direct application of
provisions, etc.
(Undefined)Emission standards
(load regulation, K value method)
Improvement order,
direct application of
provisions, etc.
AsbestosRegulatory standards
(emission concentration regulation,
boundary line)
Improvement order
Cement dust,
powdered iron,
Standards covering the structure,
use, and management
Order to meet
the standards
Motor vehicle
emission gas
CO, Hc, Pb, etc.Allowable emission level
(attention to safety standards)
Traffic regulations,
improvement order
(under other laws,
C6H5Oh, C5H5N,
NoneExecution order
at accident, etc.


Number of projects subject to the Law and the Ordinance (as of March 2004)

Project Type

Number of Projects

Subject to Law

Subject to Ordinance

New road construction


New dam and floodgate construction


New railroad and tramroad construction


New airfield construction


New power plant construction



Setting up of waste treatment facilities



New final sewage treatment plant construction


New factory or plant construction


New building construction


Public water area reclamation


Land division management projects


New residential area development projects


Industrial housing creation


New municipal infrastructure maintenance projects


Distribution business housing creation projects




Quarry projects


Generated soil disposal projects


Other projects


Port planning






The total does not match the number for each type of project because of the presence of projects which fall into several types.


 An assessment will be carried out using as a guideline an evaluation of how little the predicted environmental conditions will be interfered with in terms of the living environment, the natural environment, the historical and cultural environments, and environmental burdens. Depending on the results of the assessment, deliberation of environmental protection policy will take place, and if necessary, re-prediction and reassessment will also take place.


from 2 | return top

3.Developments in Environment Policy Administration

Developments in Environment Policy Administration

from 3 | return top

環境農林水産部 エネルギー政策課 企画推進グループ