Kitakyushu Asia Center
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History of Kitakyushu

History of Kitakushu's Environmental Policy

Rapid industrialization, pollution upsurge, and the era of overcoming it

Manifestations of Pollution

The Kitakyushu region has developed as one of the four major industrial zones in Japan since the establishment of the government-run Yawata Steel Works in 1901, and in the 1990s, with the onset of industry, Japan experienced rapid economic growth. In the 1990s, the country experienced rapid economic growth, but at the same time, the growth of the economy and rapid industrialization brought about a pollution problem that had never been experienced before, causing serious damage.

  • With the development of heavy and chemical industries, pollution problems became more serious (pollution from soot and factory effluent).
  • Japan's First Smog Alert Issued for Kitakyushu City
  • Dokai Bay water quality standards: This survey found that the bay contained 0.6mg1 of dissolved oxygen, 48.4mg/ of COD, and high concentrations of toxic substances such as cyanide and arsenic, and was subsequently called the "Dead Sea" Dokai Bay.
Urban renewal through partnership

The city of Kitakyushu implemented pollution control measures ahead of other municipalities in order to overcome serious pollution.

Citizens on the Rise
Factory inspection by Tobata Ward gynecology department
Research presentation by the Women's Association

The first to speak out against pollution was a citizens' movement of mothers concerned about the health of their children, who under the slogan "We want blue skies", voluntarily surveyed air pollution conditions and actively campaigned for improvements from corporations and the government based on the results.

Corporate Initiatives

Companies proactively took measures such as improving production processes, installing facilities to remove and treat pollutants, and greening their factories. In promoting these measures, technologies to reduce the burden on the environment (low-pollution production technology = cleaner production technology) were introduced by improving manufacturing facilities and processes, and in addition technologies for measures at the outlet such as wastewater treatment and exhaust gas treatment were also introduced, thereby thoroughly conserving resources and energy. This technology not only improved the environment, but also had the economic effect of increasing productivity.

Government Initiatives

The administration of Kitakyushu City has taken prompt action in response to the voices of its citizens. One of them is the development of an organization to deal with pollution. In addition to establishing a pollution monitoring center to constantly monitor the status of pollution, an organization for scientific research on pollution has been established. At the same time, the government implemented a series of groundbreaking environmental measures, including the establishment of financial measures and regulatory systems necessary to promote anti-pollution measures, the conclusion of "anti-pollution agreements" with companies to supplement the limitations of the law, the construction of sewage systems and green spaces, waste incineration plants and disposal sites, and relief for victims. Furthermore, in Dokai Bay, we carried out large-scale dredging of sludge containing mercury and other harmful substances.

Results of Pollution Control

As a result of the joint efforts of citizens, businesses, research institutes, and the government to combat pollution, the environment in Kitakyushu has been greatly improved.

Sea and sky revived
BEFORE | Sky in the 1960's
AFTER | Current sky
BEFORE | Sea in the 1960's
AFTER | The present sea

The Age of International Cooperation

Kitakyushu International Training Association (KITA) established.

KITA was established in 1980, led by local economic organizations, with the aim of transferring the technology and experience that Kitakyushu has cultivated to date to developing countries. Since then, KITA has been implementing international technical cooperation in the fields of environmental conservation and industrial technology by accepting trainees and dispatching experts with the support of more than 200 local companies and government agencies.Translated with (free version)

※Transitioned to Kitakyushu International Technical Cooperation Association in April 2012.

  • Acceptance of trainees from overseas: 9,754 trainees from 165 countries (as of March 31, 2020)
  • Dispatch of experts overseas: 211 people from 25 countries (as of March 31, 2020)

Global 500 Award from the United Nations Environment Programme

Receives UN Local Government Award at Rio Summit

The Age of a Recycling-Oriented Society

Kitakyushu Eco-Town Plan approved.

In the 1990s, the development of approximately 2,000 hectares of idle land in the Hibikinada area, which had been developed as an industrial park, was taken into consideration, and the "Kitakyushu Eco-Town Plan" was formulated and approved by the government, taking advantage of the port functions, the managed disposal site, the experience of overcoming pollution, and the accumulated technology of resource-recycling industries. Since then, we have been promoting the "Kitakyushu Eco-Town Project" as a unique regional policy that integrates "industrial promotion" and "environmental conservation" with the aim of building a resource-recycling society.

Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment" Adopted at UN SCAP Environment Ministers Meeting

The "Kitakyushu Initiative" is clearly stated in the official document (implementation plan) of the Johannesburg Summit.

The Age of Sustainability and Low Carbon Society

Environmental Cities and Grand Designs of the World
(Kitakyushu Citizens' Promise to People, the Earth, and Future Generations)is Formulate

Work toward the formation of a sustainable society.

Signed a memorandum of understanding on environmental cooperation with the Japan-China Friendship Center for Environmental Conservation

Selected as an "Environmental Model City" by the Japanese government.

Environmental Model City Action Plan (Kitakyushu Green Frontier) formulated.

Establishment of Kitakyushu Asian Center for Low Carbon Society

Selected as the first Green Growth City in Asia by OECD. Selected as a "Future City for the Environment" by the Japanese government.

In December 2011, the national government designated the "Green Asia International Strategic Comprehensive Special Zone," for which Fukuoka Prefecture, Kitakyushu City, and Fukuoka City had jointly applied to the national government, as an "International Strategic Comprehensive Special Zone" under the Comprehensive Special Zone Law.
On the same day, the results of the selection of the Future City for the Environment were announced, and Kitakyushu City's proposal, "Kitakyushu Future City for the Environment," was selected.

Memorandum of understanding signed with Surabaya City (Indonesia) regarding the environmental sister city affiliation

The 15th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan and Korea (TEMM15) Held in Tokyo

Kitakyushu established the Kitakyushu Japan-China Air Quality Improvement Promotion Conference to promote cooperation between cities in Japan and China for improving air quality.
Signed a sister city agreement with Haiphong City (Vietnam).

Sister city agreement signed with Phnom Penh Metropolitan Administration (Cambodia).
G7 Kitakyushu Energy Ministerial Meeting to be Held in Kitakyushu City

Signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a Green Sister City relationship with the City of Davao (Philippines)

First city in Asia to be selected as a "Global Model City for Promoting the SDGs" by the OECD
Selected as "SDGs Future City" by the Japanese government

Rename to Kitakyushu Asia Center for Carbon Neutrality

Local resources (accumulation of superior technologies)

Necessity of pollution control (high growth period)

Pursuit of resource and energy conservation (two oil shocks)

High production efficiency, low environmental impact

Development of low-emission production technology in city enterprises

(Resource- and energy-saving technologies, cleaner production, etc.)

Accumulation of technologies that contribute to low-carbon society

Support for universities and research institutions in the city

Toward the creation of a low-carbon society

Research and development of innovative technologies

(Resource- and energy-saving technologies, cleaner production, etc.)

  • YASKAWA Electric
  • Nippon Steel Corporation
  • Mitsubishi Corporation
  • TOTO