Introduction The history of Japanese environmental policies may be divided into three distinct periods (Utsunomiya, 1995:112-13). In the first period, ranging from about 1955 to 1975, environmental policies centred on the regulation of pollution. During the rapid economic growth of this early period, both the public and private sectors invested in industrial and urban infrastructure with little or no consideration for environmental effects. Japan was subjected not only to increased pollution and natural destruction but also to serious health problems resulting from pollution, such as Minamata disease (mercury poisoning), Itai-Itai disease (cadmium poisoning) and asthma. Environmental policies were developed in response to such environmental degradation. From around 1973, as a result of strict regulations, environmental pollution of this sort seemed to be well controlled. In the second period, between 1976 and 1987, came the age of amenity in which the goal of public policy was the creation of comfortable surroundings. Once the serious pollution problems had been dealt with the nation seemed to lose its concern for the environment. In the third period, from around 1988, however, environmental problems at the global scale suddenly emerged as a great issue threatening even the existence of humankind. Political leaders around the world paid renewed attention to the environment. In Japan this situation created another rise of concern among the people, industries and government.