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Data Entry: November 2011
Name of local government Kawasaki City Government
Department in charge of eco-town program International Economic Affairs Office, Economic and Labor Affairs Bureau
Approval of eco-town plan July 1997
Revised in December 2002
Target area of eco-town program Coastal area of Kawasaki City: 2,800 ha
Locations of waste recycling facilities Coastal area of Kawasaki City
Waste recycling facilities 8 facilities
  • Manufacturing reducing agents for blast furnaces from plastic waste
    Waste plastic containers and packaging and industrial waste plastics are pelletized and processed into reducing agents for blast furnaces.
  • Manufacturing concrete formwork panels from plastic waste
    Waste plastic containers and packaging and industrial waste plastics are pelletized. The recycled pellets are used to manufacture concrete formwork panels.
  • Manufacturing ammonia from plastic waste
    Waste plastic containers and packaging and industrial waste plastics are gasified by thermal decomposition. Hydrogen contained in the gas derived from thermal decomposition is used to manufacture ammonia.
  • Manufacturing recycled PET bottle resin from used PET bottles
    Recycled PET bottle resin is manufactured from used PET bottles via processes of shredding, chemical decomposition, foreign matter removal, decoloration, refining, and polymerization.
  • Recycling of used home appliances
    Used refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, clothes dryers, air conditioners, TV sets (which are required to be collected under the Home Appliance Recycling Law in Japan), PCs, and office equipment are disassembled to recover glass, plastics, steel materials, and aluminum, as well as circuit boards and motors, etc
  • Recycling of Various Waste Paper Containing Foreign Matter
    Various waste paper materials containing foreign matter including plastics, clips, and staples are dissolved, foreign matter and ink are removed, and then recycled toilet paper is manufactured.
  • Using industrial waste as fuel and raw materials for manufacturing cement
    Excavated soil from construction sites, sewage sludge incinerator ash, etc. are used as raw materials for manufacturing cement, while industrial waste including plastic waste and wood waste are used as fuel for the process of manufacturing cement.
  • Using scrap stainless steel as raw materials for nonferrous metal products

Recycling flow in Kawasaki eco-town
Background of starting eco-town program
  • Limited waste processing capacity, yet increasing quantities of waste generated
    • In Kawasaki City, waste emissions were increasing year after year due to population growth and economic development, and the limit of incineration and treatment capacity had almost been reached. In 1990, Kawasaki City Government issued the Waste Emergency Declaration.
    • In Kawasaki City, industrial waste was generated in large amounts by major local industries including steel and chemical industries, so resource recycling was essential.
    • Kawasaki City needed to promote waste reduction and recycling.
  • Needs to revitalize the local economy
    • Due to the economic recession, existing local industries were facing a slowdown and vast areas of coastal land were expected to be unused.
    • The economic recession was also expected to change the industrial structure in Japan and accelerate the relocation of industries outside Japan and industrial hollowing-out.
    • Therefore, the city needed to revitalize existing industries and introduce new industries.
  • Experience of serious environmental pollution problems in the past
    • During Japan's high economic growth period from the 1960s to 1970s, Kawasaki City suffered serious environmental pollution problems, which increased the awareness of citizens, private companies, and local government about environmental protection
  • Enforcement of recycling laws
  • A framework for the eco-town program created by the national government
    • In 1997, the framework for the eco-town program initiated by the national government was created by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment to build a resource recycling society and achieve regional development through promotion of eco industries.
Basic concepts for eco-town development

Local private companies take the initiative in environmentally sound business operations and contribute to preventing local and global environmental pollution. Activities by local private companies are enhanced by area-wide efforts, thereby building a sustainable society where industrial activities are in harmony with the environment.
To this end, the shift to an R&D-oriented industrial structure and environmental efforts are promoted in companies’ production activities and the area’s development, by fully utilizing the characteristics of existing industries.

  1. Promoting environmentally sound operations by individual private companies at their own initiative
    The first step in creating an eco-town is to promote environmentally sound operations by individual private companies in the target area at their own initiative, for example, establishing environmental management systems, minimizing waste emissions and wastewater from factories, and building eco-friendly transport systems. Kawasaki City Government recognizes and publicizes excellent private companies that carry out environmentally sound operations as zero-emission model factories.
  2. Promoting environmentally sound operations throughout the target area via collaboration among private companies
    The second step is to promote environmentally sound operations throughout the target area via collaboration among private companies that are committed to such operations. Kawasaki City Government sets environmental impact reduction targets for the entire area, and issues the area’s environmental declaration. The city is also developing the Kawasaki Zero Emission Industrial Complex as a leading model of environmentally sound operations in the target area.
  3. Carrying out researches to achieve environmentally sound sustainable development of the target area
    Researches are carried out to promote advanced sustainable development of the eco-town, including effective use of energy in the target area (e.g., cascade use of waste heat energy), developing and commercializing systems to recycle materials in the target area, promoting R&D-oriented industries, and jointly developing environmental technologies via collaboration among private companies.
  4. Disseminating information on the achievements of private companies and in the target area, and making contributions in and outside Japan
    Kawasaki City Government actively disseminates information about the eco-town (e.g., environmental technologies and environmental performance evaluation results in Kawasaki eco-town) in addition to information about environmentally sound operations by private companies, area-wide efforts and results of researches on advanced sustainable development of the eco-town.

Eco-town plan by Kawasaki City (summary in English)

Programs for promoting eco-town development
  • Disseminating information on environmental technologies, etc.
    Kawasaki City Government disseminates information on the environmental technologies of private companies in Kawasaki eco-town, and publishes environmental performance reports and information regarding the city’s environmental policies, etc. to raise the role and contribution of Kawasaki eco-town to society.
  • Establishing an eco-town center
    An eco-town center was established as a venue for research, meetings, and exhibitions to (i) enable citizens to learn about local efforts and (ii) offer environmental education programs in Kawasaki City.
Major success factors
  • A hub of manufacturing industries and research institutions
    • The coastal area of Kawasaki City is located in the center of the Keihin Industrial Zone, one of the major industrial zones in Japan, and is home to large factories in diverse industries including steelmaking, oil refining, chemicals, electric machinery, food, gas production, and thermal power generation. Meanwhile, the inland area of Kawasaki City has many research institutions of multinational corporations.
    • A range of production solutions and technologies of such factories and research institutions were used in promoting waste recycling.
    • Many factories in diverse industries in the area collaborated to consider possible combinations of production solutions and technologies for recycling waste and by-products.
  • A range of technologies and expertise developed in controlling environmental pollution problems
    • Due to environmental problems in the past, private companies had developed various technologies and expertise for controlling pollution.
  • Leadership of the local government
    • Kawasaki City Government faced an urgent need to revitalize the industries in the coastal area and promote waste recycling, and so took the initiative to create and implement the eco-town program.
    • The eco-town program was implemented via collaboration between the city's Economic and Labor Affairs Bureau and the Environmental Bureau.
  • Collaboration between the local government and private companies
    • A liaison conference between various private companies and the city government was already in place, enabling the city to gather information from various private companies.
    • The city government and private companies closely discussed how best to create and implement the eco-town program.
    • The city government appointed officials in charge of respective companies in the eco-town, and strongly supports the private companies.
Unique efforts and initiatives for eco-town development
  • Establishment of the Liaison Center for Creation of Industry & Environment
    • In 2004, the Liaison Center for Creation of Industry & Environment was established to conduct survey and research programs as well as promotion and PR programs to facilitate collaboration among industry, academia, government, and citizens for industrial revitalization and environmental creation, and thereby contribute to revitalizing the local economy and building a city in harmony with the environment.
    • The center was established as an NPO, and its members are comprised of 20 private companies located in the coastal area of Kawasaki City. The activities of the center are operated at the initiative of these member companies.
    • Kawasaki City Government provided support to set up the center with the aim to promote collaboration and business matching among private companies.
  • Establishment of the Kawasaki City Global Environment Knowledge Centre
    • In May 2008, the Kawasaki City Global Environment Knowledge Centre was established by Kawasaki City Government. This centre gathers and distributes information on Kawasaki's excellent environmental technologies, promotes joint research among industry, academia, government, and citizens by taking advantage of Kawasaki's location, and accepts training program participants from overseas.


Schematic diagram of the centre's activities
Future prospects
  • Carbon Challenge by Kawasaki City
    • In response to growing concern over global warming, efforts are being made toward a sustainable low-carbon society under the slogan of "Carbon Challenge Kawasaki", by promoting a virtuous cycle of environmental protection and economic development.
    • Products or technologies developed or manufactured in Kawasaki City for reducing CO2 emissions are widely disseminated under the "Low CO2 Kawasaki Brand."
    • The city supports the creation of cutting-edge industries in the environment and energy sectors.
    • The use of renewable energy (e.g., solar and wind power) and unused energy (e.g., waste heat energy from factories) is promoted via collaboration among citizens, private companies, and local government.
  • International contribution with environmental technologies
    • In collaboration with UNEP, the city promotes international contributions based on excellent environmental technologies available in the city and experience of environmental protection.
    • In collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment (Government of Japan), the National Institute for Environmental Studies, and UNEP, the city supports Shenyang City, China (Kawasaki's friendship city) in developing a recycling-based economy.
    • To promote international contributions with environmental technologies, the city works with the National Institute for Environmental Studies and other organizations to promote R&D of environmental technologies.
    • To promote transfer environmental technologies to other countries, the city promotes the creation, protection, and utilization of intellectual property.
    • To overseas countries, the city disseminates information on excellent environmental technologies and products, etc. available in and outside Japan, and promotes international contributions and industrial cooperation through the transfer of environmental technologies.

- "Zero Emissions and Eco-Town in Kawasaki," Workshop 2010 of the Asian Network for Prevention of Illegal Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, 27-29 January 2010, Yokohama, Japan
- Yohko Maki: "Kawasaki Eco-Town," Inaugural Meeting of the Regional 3R Forum in Asia, 11-12 November 2009, Tokyo, Japan
- Saburo Kato: "Lessons from the Kawasaki Eco-Town," Thematic Session on Environmentally Sustainable Industrial Development, the Concept of Eco-Towns in the Asia Pacific Region, 1 November 2006, Singapore
- Takekazu Inoue: "Environment Technology Transferred from Kawasaki City to the World", Penang Eco-town Workshop, 7 December 2011, Penang, Malaysia

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