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【METI Mobile】Kitakyushu cleans up polluted legacy with green energy

Photo: Kitakyushu cleans up polluted legacy with green energy

Ahead of the G7 Summit on May 26-27 in Ise-Shima, Mie Prefecture, ten ministerial meetings will be held throughout Japan to discuss specific issues, including foreign policy, finance, and energy. Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry will join the Energy Ministers’ Meeting on May 1-2 in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Why Kitakyushu?

Kitakyushu has been a symbol of Japan’s industrial modernization and rapid economic growth since 1901, when the area began producing steel at government-run steelworks. The city soon became known for its heavy industry and chemical production. However, this period of rapid growth triggered a sharp rise in industrial pollution. At its height, the sky above the city was referred to as a “seven-colored smoke ” and the surrounding sea as a “sea of death”?which dissolved ship propellers and was too harsh for even E. coli to survive.

Photo: City of Kitakyusyu Japan 1960's

Towards a model for sustainable energy

In response, Kitakyushu took action to restore its environment through public-private cooperation. The city is now one of Japan’s most advanced in terms of environmental conservation and efficient energy use. For example, smart meters installed in certain areas of the city measure electricity usage every 30 minutes to find more ways for residents and business to control their energy usage. Many people have also visited the sites of new local renewable energy projects aimed at making use of electricity generated from wind, solar and hydrogen power.

As the ministers who deal with energy-related matters in each G7 country discuss global energy issues, Kitakyushu will represent a successful balance of both economy and environment.

(A town’s electricity usage is monitored on screens)

Last updated: 2016-03-31
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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