Education About Asia: Online Archives

Teaching about Environmental Issues in Japan

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Environmental education in Japan’s schools has become more active in the last sixty years in both research and practical application. It is often said that environmental education in Japanese schools is now in the third phase of its development. In the first phase, during the 1960s, study of industrial pollution was the focus. Social studies curricula in elementary schools, as well as in lower and upper secondary schools, included lessons on the ways environmental pollution (river, seacoast, and air pollution by chemical and petrochemical industries) affected the population. In particular, four court cases of industrial pollution—Minamata, Yokkaichi, Toyama, and Niigata—were broadly studied.