Section 2. The Negative legacy of the 20th Century
As presented in the previous section, the postwar administration of MLIT achieved enormous results. There still,
however, remain various issues to face at present.
First, social problems, including urban problems, pollution/environment problems and new safety problems have
occurred in conjunction with high economic growth. Although some of them were improved in the 20th century, many
have been inherited by the 21st century and remain as administrative issues for MLIT to tackle.
Secondly, new issues besides these problems have emerged recently. The next section will deal with these new
Deterioration of living environment in cities and city traffic problems
Rapidly concentrated population and industry in cities during the time of high economic growth resulted in a
deterioration of living environment for urban residents and serious urban traffic problems, including traffic congestion.
Some of them have already been improved, but not totally solved, and measures are being sought continuously.
22. (Change in greenery area in four areas: Tokyo and 3 surrounding prefectures)
(fiscal year) 0
Note 1: “Materials concerning seven prefectures and cities greenery policy” for Special Greenery Policy
Subcommittee of the Seven Prefectures and Cities Summit Environmental Issues Policy Committee(August 2001)
Note 2: Four areas: Tokyo Metropolis, Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture and Kanagawa
Total of farmland, forest field and city parks
23. (Change in vehicle's average driving speed at peak hours of traffic in each city)
Tokyo 23 wards
Note 1: Compiled from “Road Traffic Census” of MLIT
Note 2: Average vehicle speed at peak hours of traffic is the average speed of
vehicles which run morning and evening rush hours after the year1994 and
which run at peak hours before 1990 on public national and municipal roads.
24. (Congestion rate of railroads in Tokyo area at rush hours)
Note 1: Compiled from MLIT data and
Urban Traffic Annual Report
Note 2: Congestion rate of most congested sections of major railroads in Tokyo area per hour at peak
Decline in local vitality
In local areas, outflow of the labor force population into cities caused decreases in productivity, a growing elderly
population and decay of central urban areas induced a problem of decline in local vitality. While the income differential is
decreasing, vitalization of local areas with unique community building is still an important task to be dealt with.
25. Population composition ratio by municipal scales and age groups
More than 500
Fewer than 5
Population Census 2000
by the Ministry of Public Management,
Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications
Revealing of pollution/environmental problems
Environmental problems have appeared during the time of high economic growth, when public nuisance occurred,
including air pollution caused by automobiles, noise pollution by airplanes and Shinkansen trains and water pollution in
public water bodies and when marine pollution became worse through oil tanker accidents and illegal dumping of wastes.
While efforts were actively made to improve conditions with some degree of effect, there still remain various problems
such as air pollution by motor vehicles in metropolitan areas and water pollution in closed water bodies.
26. (Achieved state of NO2 environmental standard)
Three major metropolitan areas
Note : Compiled from “National Land Report 2000”
27. (Change in BOD 75% index at representative points in major city rivers by years)
What is BOD?
The Ayase River (Teshiro Bridge)
Oxygen is used when microbes decompose the organic components of
waste in the water. The amount of oxygen used increases
The Tama River (Denenchoufu dam)
correspondingto the amount of wast. BOD(biological oxygen
demand)represents the amount of such oxygen. In general, a BOD
The Tsurumi River (Ohtsuna Bridge)
value equal to or less than 5ppm is sonsidered to indicate clean water.
The Yamato River (Asaka [new])
We can have fun
It smells too
It is very dirty,
Yes, I could catch it.
bad to come close.
so let's go over there.
playing in a crystal river.
We almost die.
Crucian carps, carps,
Sweetfish, look, sweetfish.
we can live here, but...
I am back, too.
Note 1: Compiled from MLIT data
Note 2: BOD 75% index
BOD is considered to conform to environmental standards when the 75
index is under the standard. 75% index is for instance, the 75th number among 100 data
arranged in order from small value. What is BOD?
Oxygen is used when microbes decompose the organic components of waste in the water. The
amount of oxygen used increases corresponding to the amount of waste. BOD (biological oxygen
demand) represents the amount of such oxygen. In general, a BOD value equal to or less than
5ppm is considered to indicate clean water.
While various measures have been taken with considerable effects in the field of road transport, the absolute number of
casualties in traffic accidents continues to increase even recently. Achievements have also been seen in railroad, shipping
and airline transport. All possible measures, however, should be taken consistently to prevent accidents, because, if it were
to occur, a mass transport system accident would cause enormous casualties.
28. (Change in casualties in traffic accidents by running km of motor vehicles)
(Scaling 1966 value to 100)
The number of casualties by running km of motor vehicles
The number of casualties
The number of deaths
01966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 (year)
Note 1: Compiled from MLIT data and
by the National Police Agency
Note 2: Running km of motor vehicles includes those of light vehicles from1987
Moreover, vulnerable cities have been formed in regard to city disaster prevention, as crowded wooden housing areas
were formed and population and property were concentrated in lowland areas in the vicinity of rivers, mainly in new urban
districts built during the time of high economic growth.
These safety problems remain yet to be dealt with seriously.
29. (Change in density of property damaged by flood
average in past 5 years)
amout of damage
Flood damage density
flood area(thousand ha)
Density of property damaged by flood
Sum of property damaged by flood
Sum of property damaged by flood sum/residential
area/other submergence area
Flood damage density : amount of damage in private property per ha of flooded area
Note 1 :Compiled from MLIT “Flood Damage Statistics”
Note 2: Private property damage and flood damage density include losses caused by suspension of business.
Prices are those of fiscal 1995
Note 3: Total number for each year is the average of past five years including the year concerned