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Press Release

2003 Water Quality Survey Results for Primary Bathing Beaches

July 4, 2003

The Ministry of the Environment has compiled the results of a water quality survey conducted by local public bodies on primary bathing beaches throughout Japan from late April to early June 2003. The results were as follows:

(1)   All 809 of the bathing beaches addressed in this survey had satisfactory water quality.
(2) The number of bathing beaches in the survey which had a water quality rating of 'A' or higher was 677, or 84% of the total.
(3) At 787 of the beaches in the survey, a survey for the presence of Escherichia coli O-157 was also conducted. O-157 was not detected at any of the beaches surveyed.

Bodies conducting the survey:

Prefectural governments and municipalities which were delegated the authority under the Water Pollution Control Law

Bathing beaches surveyed: 809 beaches* (compared with 832 the previous year)

* Beaches which had visitors in 2002 totaling 10,000 persons or more in the case of oceanfront beaches, and 5,000 persons or more in the case of lakefront or riverfront beaches.

Items surveyed:

colon bacillus, presence of oil film, chemical oxygen demand (COD), and transparency. Hydrogen ion concentration (pH) and Escherichia coli O-157 were also monitored as reference items.

Dates for water sampling: Late April 2003 to early June 2003

Summary of the Survey Results

1.   Table 1 shows the number of bathing beaches as broken down by categorization of water quality, using the categorization standards set forth as the water quality criteria for bathing beaches.
(1)   The water quality at 677 bathing beaches, or 84% of the total, was evaluated as AA or A, which indicated an excellent or good condition for water at bathing beaches (compared with 710 beaches, or 85% of the total, in the previous year). This percentage remained high.
(2) 423 beaches, or 52% of the total, were evaluated as having water quality AA, thus putting beaches with this rating in the majority (compared with 442 beaches rated AA, or 53% of the total, in the previous year).
(3) There were no beaches in the survey with water quality evaluated as unsatisfactory or as needing remedial measures.
2.   At 787 beaches, a survey for the presence of Escherichia coli O-157 was conducted. Results were negative at every beach.
3.   With regard to the "Best 88 Bathing Beaches" selected by the Ministry of the Environment, 85 of them were evaluated with a water quality rating of A or higher. All 88 beaches had a rating of B or higher. This demonstrated that these beaches have a suitable water quality for bathing.

<Best 88 Bathing Beaches>
The Ministry of the Environment selected 88 particularly excellent bathing beaches in 2001 to promote bathing beaches which maintained good water quality as well as a comfortable bathing environment. Selection criteria included (i) water quality, natural environment, and scenery, (ii) consideration of the environment or efforts to conserve the environment, (iii) safety, and (iv) ease of use. The Ministry of the Environment has been working to raise awareness by making and distributing posters and brochures. URL for the Best 88 Bathing Beaches:

* Table 1     Result of Water Quality Survey of Primary Bathing Beaches for FY 2002 and FY 2003
* Table 2     Water Quality Survey Results for Best 88 Bathing Beaches
* Trends of Water Quality of Primary Bathing Beaches (FY 1999 - FY 2003)
* Water Quality Criteria for Bathing Beaches

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