Securing an environmentally
sound water cycle and revitalizing
soil and ground environments

 The Environmental Management Bureau develops measures to secure an environmentally sound water cycle, to prevent water pollution and to conserve underground water. In addition, it works to rehabilitate soil environments so that future generations are not left with the burden of soil contaminated by toxic substances.

■Achievement of Environmental
 Quality Standards

 In recent years, there has been remarkable progress in reducing water pollution from such toxic substances (items relating to health) as cadmium and cyanide. There are almost no problems with such substances anywhere in Japan. But improvement is still needed in relation to organic pollutants (items relating to the living environment), whose adverse effects include impact to drinking water, in marshes, inland seas, bays, and the like. The department also sets environmental standards for the conservation of aquatic habitats, and is considering more preferable environmental management measures.

■Conserving Water Quality
 in Closed Water Systems

 In closed water systems like lakes, reservoirs, inland seas, and bays, water circulation is often poor. This may cause eutrophication, which causes water blooms and red tides, oxygen starvation at the water bottom, and other issues. This impacts municipal water supplies the fishing industry, and other water use.
 For this reason, measures against wastewater from factories and business establishments are needed, as well as measures to improve sewers, septic tanks, rural-community sewerage systems and other facilities for domestic wastewater. Additionally, measures for non-point pollution sources such as farms are also needed.
 Various measures to conserve the water quality of lakes and reservoirs are implemented in accordance with a plan based on the Law Concerning Special Measures for the Preservation of Lake Water Quality. Measures are also taken to regulate the overall water pollutant load to Tokyo Bay, Ise Bay, and the Seto Inland Sea in accordance with the Water Pollution Prevention Law and other laws.

 Firefly Ranger Kids)

 The department advertised widely for children-led activities to conserve the water environment related to fireflies, and the Minister of the Environment presented awards for the nationユs leading and most unique activities.
Fireflies commonly seen in Japan are either "GENJIBOTARU" or "HEIKEBOTARU." They spend nearly all of their lives around the waterfront.
 Information about HOTARANGER:

■Securing an Environmentally
  Sound Water Cycle

 Due to issues arising from changes in the water cycle, including water pollution, springs going dry, and declining river flows, the department works together with government agencies involved with water to support the creation of plans for water bodies, and carries out specific initiatives to build an environmentally sound water cycle.
nformation about securing an
environmentally sound water cycle:

■Measures to Prevent Pollution
  from Agricultural Chemicals

 Although agricultural chemicals are necessary for agriculture and other purposes, it is necessary to use them without polluting crops, water, and the like. From this aspect, the Ministry of the Environment establishes the standards to determine whether agricultural chemicals should be registered and those that the users of agricultural chemicals shall obey, in accordance with the Agricultural Chemicals Regulation Law.

■Measures against Ground

 To prevent ground subsidence, the pumping of groundwater is regulated in accordance with such laws as the Industrial Water Law and Law Concerning the Regulation of Pumping-up of Groundwater for Use in Buildings.

■Selected 100 Exquisite
 and Well Conserved Waters
 In March 1985, 100 of Japan's best springs and rivers were selected as "Exquisite and Well Conserved Waters." This listing inspired these communities to form the All Japan Water Environment Conservation Council. The council holds a symposium every year, in order to promote conservation of the water environment and raise awareness of conservation of water quality.

 More information about the Selected 100 Exquisite and Well Conserved Waters :     

■Selection of Pleasant Beaches
 In 2001, the Ministry of the Environment selected the "Best 88 Beaches" in Japan, aiming to expand public awareness and raise interest in water environment conservation. In 2006, a new selection of Japan's "Kaisuiyokujou 100 (Best 100 Beaches )" will be conducted.

 More information about
 the Best 88 Beaches:

Overview of Water Environment Policy

■The Water Environmental
  Partnership in Asia (WEPA)

 WEPA aims to strengthen governance and capacity building in water environmental management by providing an information platform on water environment conservation. The Ministry of the Environment of Japan is taking a leading role in the implementation of WEPA, with close collaboration with 10 other WEPA partner countries.

 Information about WEPA:

■Conservation of Soil Environment and Groundwater Quality
 The soil is just as vital a component of the environment as water and air. Soil helps to keep groundwater clean and pure. Once the soil or ground water is contaminated by pollutants, however, the contamination will last long periods and may cause serious damage to human health and living environments. The Environmental Management Bureau has set environmental standards for soil and groundwater, and conducts various measures to ensure that these standards are met and maintained. The Bureau also carries out various measures based on the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Law.

Information on the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Law :

Cases of soil pollution found by year