Global Network

Tokyo, Japan


The Mega-Cities Coordinator in Tokyo is the General Manager and chief researcher for the research department at Ace Research Institute and an instructor of Urban Geography and Regional Planning and Urban Environment at Rissho University in Tokyo. He is a representative of the Grassroots Citizen Network and a steering committee member of the Citizens Association of Waste Problems and Environment Mitigation Measures in Nagareyarma, the city in which he resides.

He holds degrees from both Rissho Universitv (BA) and San Francisco State University (MA) in urban and social geography. After graduate school, he worked for eight years as a transportation planner and/or systems planner for several consultant firms in the United States. He also worked for four years for Sumitomo Trust Bank Research Institute, specializing in urban policy and solving urban problems.

He is the author of numerous publications and has written books on Las Vegas, Tokyo and megacities in general.



Academic Sector

  • Jerry Eades, Siga University
  • Susumu Kurasawa, Tokyo-Toritsu University
  • Yasuo Masai, Risyo University
  • Dagurnsu Rarnisu, Tsudajuku University
  • Kyoichi Sonoda, Tokyo University

Public Sector

  • Yasunori Fukawa, Ichikawa City Councilman
  • Yasuo Masai, Tokyo Metropolitan Govemment
  • Yoshifumi Nakano, Adachi City
  • Nobuaki Saito, Shinjyuku City
  • Yurniko Ushiyama, Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Private Sector

  • Naoya Mooda, CRC Research Institute
  • Toshio Sugawara, Tokyo Autonomy Newspaper, Inc.
  • Takahitro Sugiyama, Kawasaki Saiwai Hospital
  • Fumihito Takagi, Shimizu Construction Co.


  • Hiroyuki Ishi, Asahi Newspaper Co.
  • Katsutoshi Kamata, Daily Industry Newspaper Inc.
  • Takamichi Masai, Asahi Newspaper

Grassroots and NGO

  • Kanta Hani, A Seed Japan
  • Sanae Ishimura, Seikatsu Club Corp
  • Yoko Kikuta, Kashiwa Consumer Life Coordinator
  • Jinichi Kumada Nagaroyama, Living Environment Protection Association
  • Junichi Takeda, Japan Ecology Center


  • Katuya Fukuoka, Earth Environment Center
  • Jerry Inman, Asia Foundation
  • Yasuji Kouzaki, Environment Information Center
  • Tatsuya Tanami, International Cultural Center
  • Hiroyuki Yanagitsubo, Association for Promotion of International Cooperation



The Tokyo metropolitan area includes Tokyo, Chiba, the port city of Yokohama, and the manufacturing center of Kawasaki. It is a coastal city of 616 square kilometers, located centrally on Honshu, Japan's largest island.

Between the years 1910 and 1970, the average rate of population increase was above three percent per year. After 1971, the rate dropped to about one percent, and has been even less during the 1990s. Nevertheless, that figure translates into growth of more than 200,000 per year between 1990 and 1997.

The 1995-1996 population estimate is 7,810,000 for the city and 32,210,000 for the Metropolitan area. The population density is 12,679 per sq km.

The Tokyo-Kawasaki-Yokohama manufacturing region is the major industrial and financial region in Japan. It accounts for 23% of industrial production, 52% of financial agglomeration, and 76% of stock trading.

Income per household was US$71,600 in 1994, at an exchange rate of Y120.00 per dollar. The 1997 employment rate was 96.5%.

The informal sector is increasingly active but its economic impact is difficult to determine. Included in this category are drug transactions, prostitution, home tutoring, and street-vendor activities.

Health and Environment
Almost 100% of the population in the Tokyo area have access to health services. There are 754 hospitals in the city. In 1986, in response to the city's growing elderly population, the Tokyo government revised its long-range plan to increase medical care and welfare facilities for citizens 61 years of age and over. Life expectancy is 83.59 years for females and 77.01 years for men.

Infrastructure and Social Services
—Tokyo has no single business center and has thus developed as several sub-centers usually located around railroad stations. Tokyo's infrastructure consists of subways, railways, buses, and motor highways. Its expressways cover 140 kilometers over 19 routes.

Close to 90% of Tokyo's approximately 1.6 million workers use the rail system. In total, the system consists of 299 km of JR lines, 225 km of subway lines, 333 km of private lines, and 47 km of new traffic lines. The subway handles 7.8 million passengers a year, while JR lines handle 14.6 million and private lines 13.9 million.

Water—Aqueduct systems supply the water for the city. They are supplemented by local water works, private industrial systems, and residential systems. Groundwater accounts for 10% of all water.

Power—Thermal, hydroelectric, atomic, and gas power are all used in Tokyo.

Education—The adult literacy rate is close to 100%. Enrollment ratios from 1997 were 96% for high schools and 45% for universities.

Waste Disposal—Methods of waste disposal include incineration, recycling, landfill usage, and expansion of the sewage system.



Ecopure Abiko (Citizens' Campaign for Reduction and Recycling of Garbage)
In Abiko City, Chiba Prefecture, a garbage-recycling campaign has contributed greatly to waste reduction. Started by citizens and with the participation of organic farmers and the cooperation of the administration, the campaign has developed into various local garbage-recycling activities.

This citizens' movement links residents with farmers through a garbage (organic fertilizer) "generator-user" relationship. Garbage produced by homes in an area is converted into organic fertilizer by using effective microorganisms (EMs). This fertilizer is then collected and used for farming by the farmers living in the area, and the crops produced are then sold to the households that provided garbage. In this way, recycling is accomplished.

The conversion to organic fertilizer involves treating the garbage with a fermenting agent called bokashi—made by fermenting EMs with rice bran and husk as the base—followed by removing moisture and air. The obtained product, called bokashiae, becomes an excellent organic fertilizer. The fertilizer yielded, once dried and crushed, is stable and can be preserved in good condition, and is used in farmhouses. Being anaerobic, EMs generate no carbon dioxide gas in the garbage decomposing (fermenting) process. Conversely, they absorb carbon dioxide gas from the air and emit virtually no smell.

The job of bokashi-making is entrusted to a private welfare workplace located in the city. Physically disabled individuals can participate in bokashi-making and thereby be working members of society.

Parks Over Joban Freeway
In a country in which the actions of the central government are rarely questioned by local governments and assemblies, what occurred in Nagareyama City was a very exceptional case: a ten-year old community movement successfully caused the central government to change a policy. Instead of the original plan which consisted of passing a surface or high-level freeway across the quiet residential quarters on the outskirts of Tokyo, the community movement led to the construction of the planned sections of the Joban Freeway as underground structures with parks created on the covered sections. Consequently, with the opening of the Joban Freeway to traffic, adverse effects of motor vehicle noise and emissions have been held at minimum levels, helping to preserve the quiet residential environment along the freeway. Moreover, the parks made full use of the upper space of the expressway, leaving the residential environment improved and leading to higher land value. Nagareyama represents the only case in the whole country in which the construction of highways has raised the land values of residential quarters.

Furthermore, the community succeeded in securing agreements with the Japan Highway Public Corporation both during and after construction. The agreement during construction was to prevent noise pollution caused by construction and to control access of large vehicles to the roads closely related to the daily life of community. The after-agreement was to obligate JHPC to make immediate structural improvements if numerical values exceeding the prescribed environmental standards were measured on the road sections with or without covered structures in the vicinity of the non-urbanized areas.



Multiple functions are concentrated in Tokyo, the political, economic, and cultural center of Japan. The concentration of core administrative functions is especially outstanding. There is also a high concentration of economic functions such as finance and wholesaling and cultural functions such as publishing and education. With the progress of internationalization and informatization in recent years, international financial functions have become concentrated in Tokyo and the city has assumed even greater importance as a nucleus of information for both Japan and the world.

The purpose of the capital region development conception is to remedy abuses resulting from overpopulation and congestion in existing urban areas and to develop the capital region (consisting of Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, and Yamanashi Prefectures) according to its specific characteristics.

The National Capital Region Development law enacted in 1956 aimed first to restrict the expansion of the urban district by creating a Suburban zone (green belt). But the urban area continued to expand, far exceeding initial expectations. The NCRD law was therefore radically amended in 1965. The revised law has abolished the green belt concept and established the suburban Development Area in the suburbs as a zone to be developed in harmony with the existing built up area and, at the same time, to preserve green spaces and establish satellite towns for industries and educational purposes outside the Suburban Development area. The national Capital Region Development Plan consists of the Basic, Development, and Execution Plans.

As for the Tokyo Megalopolis Region, the plan urges that the concentration of functions into the ward area and especially the central wards in the Tokyo Metropolis be corrected. And through the formation of self-sufficient urban zones with business cores, the region should be restructured into multi-core urban zones. In order to revise the plan to reflect changes in economic and social trends caused by the implementation of the Fourth plan, the government performed an overall examination of the present plan. Based on the results, a formulation of the next Basic Plan is underway. The Development Plan defines, in accordance with the Basic Plan, the extent of the developmental works to be conducted in the existing urban districts, Suburban Development Areas, and Satellite-Town Areas. Specifically, it refers to residential lands, roads, railways, public parks, and water supply and sewage systems.


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