Tokyo, Japan Eitan and Phil

Tokyo is a city with 13.6 Million people (metropolitan population: 37.8 Million)
15.7% of Japan’s population lives in poverty
“1.23 million single mother households exist that earn only 40 percent of the average household income.”
“Yet living standards in Japan are among the highest in the world. Unemployment is half that of the US; life expectancy five years longer. Average real incomes are the same as Germany's, and inequality lower.” - The Guardian
Due to few building regulations, Tokyo has some of the most affordable housing of any megacity. Run mostly by the central government, new developments are constantly being made that lowers the cost of housing

The Tokyo government has a vision for a zero-waste city. The volume of waste has been steadily declining despite population growth, and they have 100% garbage collection. Tokyo has very advanced waste incineration plants that reduce the volume of the waste and lessen the amount of harmful gasses produced. They actually emit water vapor instead of smoke. The heat energy produced is used to power the plant and is also sold.

“The super eco-town project is designed to eliminate industrial waste by disassembling discarded products into their original components and into raw materials that can be reused and transforming the remaining waste into energy.”

The state of pollution in Tokyo:

  • Air Pollution: Moderate
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility: Low
  • Dissatisfaction with Garbage Disposal: Low
  • Dirty and Untidy: Low
  • Noise and Light Pollution: Moderate
  • Water Pollution: Low
  • Dissatisfaction to Spend Time in the City: Low
  • Dissatisfaction with Green and Parks in the City: Low
Tokyo is currently in Stage 5 Demographic Transition
Japan Population Pyramid 2015
So where does Tokyo go from here?

Tokyo is often seen as a city of urban development or the “techno-mecha that fosters technologies of tomorrow.” Many people just assume that it probably pollutes a ton like its asian counterparts (such as China), HOWEVER it is the complete opposite. Tokyo actually has many “forward” thinking ideas such as the Climate Change Strategy (set forth in 2007 -- a 10 year plan).

The Climate Change Strategy contains 5 goals
  1. “A new approach towards energy use. The target was to shift to a low-CO₂ society, a society where people are able to enjoy a comfortable urban life on minimal use of energy”
  2. “More effective use of renewable energies, such as solar power, to enhance Tokyo’s independence on fossil fuels”
  3. “Progress in the passive use of energy, using wind, light and heat naturally, especially in homes. The idea revolves around dynamics between buildings, and the relationship with surrounding nature”
  4. “The development of a greener city, with the low-CO₂ social systems and technologies that generate new urban-style businesses”
  5. “Finally, the 10-Year Project for a Carbon-Minus Tokyo focuses on reducing Tokyo’s 2000 Greenhouse Gas emissions by 25% by 2020”

Energy consumption by fuel type as of 2013:

  • Electricity: 296 PJ
  • City Gas: 187 PJ
  • LPG: 32 PJ
  • Fuel Oil: 284 PJ
  • Other: 2 PJ
“Humans are social creatures and our environment comprises the natural systems in which we live, human relationships that develop through industry in each local area, and our culture — which is most important, because without a clear sense of identity regarding our habitat and community, we cannot maintain values that are key to societal sustainability.” -- Takeshi Hara

What isn't working?

Japan still has to steps to take to reduce their problem with waste management. The amount of waste/trash produced is unsustainable for the size of the tiny island.

OUR thoughts on the future:

Japan’s incredible culture fosters a sense of care for the environment and sustainability. I believe that the future of Japan is positive. If women continue to start working more and so do men, the birth rate will continue to fall below the death rate, thus lowering the population. Japanese people need to also begin taking into account the amount of waste they produce. This is a factor that MUST be fixed in order for the future of this nation to be positive.

Works Cited:

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