July 15, 2006


5th 'Top Eco-City' Contest Encourages Eco-Cities

Keywords: Local government NGO / Citizen Others 

Minamata City in Kumamoto Prefecture and Shinshiro City in Aichi Prefecture were awarded Top Eco-Cities out of 75 participating municipalities in the 5th Eco-City Contest, it was announced on March 30, 2006. No municipality, however, was awarded the grand title of "Environmental Capital of Japan." The annual contest was hosted by a national network of non-profit organizations.

This contest will be held for 10 consecutive years through 2011 to support and facilitate local governments to realize a sustainable society with the help of citizens. The participating municipalities were evaluated based on interviews and their responses to 90 questions in 15 categories, including (1) establishment and utilization of an environmental management system, (2) citizen empowerment, (3) energy policy, and (4) promotion of environment-friendly industries. The average score of the top 10 eco-cities rose to 505 points from 459 points in fiscal 2004. The maximum score was 1020 points. The network says the contest has contributed to improving local governments' environmental policies and realizing eco-cities.

Minamata City was first with 606 points, scoring more than 90 percent in "establishment and utilization of an environmental management system" and "conservation and restoration of the natural environment" and more than 70 percent in "partnership" and "health of the water environment." Okaya City in Nagano Prefecture won a special award for a pioneering project called the "Bird Bus Tour" in Enrei Onodachi Park. The early-morning tour was started by the Suwa Branch of the Wild Bird Society of Japan in 1954, takes visitors to Enrei, known as the "Bird Grove," a habitat for about 50 kinds of wild birds, so that tourists can enjoy hearing the sound of birdsong. The city was also highly evaluated for its pioneering environmental policies, landscape creation and waste reduction. Okaya City placed 26th in overall rankings and 6th in population size categories.


Posted: 2006/07/15 08:48:53 AM
Japanese version