Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Pollution and Environmental Issues in Agriculture and the Livestock Industry: A Brief Review of the Japanese Case

Kawata, Yukichika (2011): Pollution and Environmental Issues in Agriculture and the Livestock Industry: A Brief Review of the Japanese Case.

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Abstract

This paper presents an overview of the current conditions of livestock-related environmental problems in Japan. The former Basic Agriculture Act, which was effective between 1961 and 1999, promoted single cropping, the use of chemicals in agricultural methods, and the use of large-sized machines, which caused problems such as soil impoverishment, replant failure, chemical residue accumulation, ground water pollution, and productivity reduction. Many of these livestock-related environmental problems are closely linked to substances in livestock excreta and excessive nitrogen, which is the prime cause of concern. These problems are related to externality and can be attributed to the overuse of natural resources. In addition, the former law ignored the multiple functions of agriculture, which, in turn, diminished the positive external effects. These problems are related to externality and can be attributed to the underuse of natural resources. This condition has been improved under the Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas Basic Act (New Basic Agriculture Act). Superficially, livestock excreta and excessive nitrogen contribute to the overuse problem, but if we regard them as unused resources, they can also be categorised as factors that contribute to the underuse problem. The new act offers measures to resolve underuse problems, but these measures continue to remain inadequate to arrive at a complete solution. Therefore, in addition to the legal approaches adopted, voluntary countermeasures by agriculture and livestock farmers should also be promoted.

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