Tag Archives: Japan

Japan: post-disaster water and sanitation problems


Survivors at a shelter in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, in north-east Japan, after the earthquake and tsunami struck. Photo: Reuters

Millions of people in Japan’s devastated northeast are without water, food or heating in near-freezing temperatures. Access to water in the tsunami affected areas is a concern due to water contamination and salination. An estimated 1.4 million households in 14 Prefectures have no access to water, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Four days after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on 11 March 2001, some 550,000 people have been evacuated and at least 10,000 are expected to have died.

“People are exhausted both physically and mentally,” said Yasunobu Sasaki, the principal of a school converted into a shelter in Rikuzentakata, a nearly flattened village of 24,500 people in far-northern Iwate prefecture.

There was not enough food for three meals a day and no heating, he said. Sanitation was a also problem. His shelter has fewer than 10 temporary toilets and several makeshift wooden toilets with a hole in the ground.

“That’s not enough for the around 1,800 people here,” he said.

The Turkish Red Crescent, Switzerland Humanitarian Aid Response Team, Canadian Medical Assistance Team, Save the Children and Plan International are providing technical assistance.

Source: Yoko Kubota, Reuters / Alertnet, 14 Mar 2011 ; OCHA Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Situation Report No. 3, 14 Mar 2011

Japan: selling sewage to Australia

Japan has an unlikely new export product:  the sewage it normally dumps into rivers or the sea. The first buyer is the Australian mining industry. Could this also become a new money earner for developing countries? Well, no. The “export quality” sewage in question is effluent from high-tech Japanese wastewater treatment plants.

An innovative trade experiment will take place in the autumn of 2010. Australian ships with iron ore for Japan, will return, not with seawater in their ballast tanks, but with highly treated sewage water.

Continue reading

Morinosuke Kawaguchi: a TEDx talk on “geeky” Japanese toilet technology

Technology consultant Morinosuke Kawaguchi gives a fascinating lecture on Japan’s world famous “super” toilet technology. Kawaguchi is especially known for incorporating elements of Japan’s vast, inventive otaku (geek) subculture in his designs. His recent book Otakude onnanoko na kuni no monozukuri (Neon Genesis of Geeky-Girly Japanese Engineering) explores “the cool and wild territory where subculture can teach technology how to create innovative products with a competitive edge”.

In his TEDxTokyo presentation, Kawaguchi “discusses the Operating-Room-like concept of no touch, the male urge to hunt, female notions of propriety, the significance of six seconds, and how toilet technology services all of these things and more”.

Source: N. Rain Noe, core77, 19 May 2010

Sulabh to construct low-cost toilets in Japan

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Sulabh International, a leading sanitation NGO, has decided to start its operation soon in Japan by constructing low cost toilets popularly known as “Sulabh Sauchalaya“.

The decision was taken in the light of the initiatives by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, on whose invitation Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak visited Tokyo to throw light on effective methods for easy disposal of human waste.

Pathak, who also visited some rural areas of Japan, said here today that there was a need for cheap toilets as the technology in use in that country was very expensive and felt that the two-pit toilet system could be a perfect solution given the climate of Japan.

Sulabh is going to construct at least half a dozen low- cost toilets as part of its project to display the efficacy of its technology.

Source – http://www.ptinews.com/news/493551_Sulabh-to-construct-low-cost-toilets-in-Japan

Do the Global Handwashing dance! “Washy washy wa”

Kaiji Moriyama lathers up. Photo: UNICEF

Kaiji Moriyama lathers up. Photo: UNICEF

UNICEF Japan and its partners have released a hilarious video to promote handwashing to mark 2009 Global Handwashing Day.

Renowned Japanese dancer Kaiji Moriyama has choreographed a dance for a public service announcement designed to teach children the principles of good handwashing.

The dance shows children how in just 20 seconds they can properly wash their palms, nails, fingers and wrists. The dance has almost no verbal instruction, but, by simply following the steps, children learn proper handwashing while also having fun.

Go “washy washy wa”  and “soupy soupy soo” together with Kaiji and do the Global Handwashing dance!

This could become the new Macarena!

Japan: sewage yields more gold than top mines

A sewage treatment facility in [Nagano prefecture,] central Japan has recorded a higher gold yield from sludge than can be found at some of the world’s best mines. [T]he high percentage of gold found at the Suwa facility was probably due to the large number of precision equipment manufacturers in the vicinity that use the yellow metal. The facility recently recorded finding 1,890 grammes of gold per tonne of ash from incinerated sludge [far higher than the 20-40 grammes per tonne] of Japan’s Hishikari Mine, one of the world’s top gold mines.

The prefecture […] expects to earn about 15 million yen [US$ 168,000] for the fiscal year to the end of March from the gold it has retrieved from the ashes of incinerated sludge.

Source: Miho Yoshikawa, Reuters, 30 Jan 2009

Millions to benefit from UK-Dutch water and sanitation initiative

Millions of people in Africa and Asia will be provided with clean drinking water and decent sanitation thanks to a new joint initiative from the UK and the Netherlands.

Announcing UK support for the “Framework for Action”, DFID Minister Gareth Thomas spoke of the need for greater progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water and sanitation.

The initiative, which was launched on 24 September at the United Nations High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals in New York, will allocate £5 million (6 million Euros) over five years to an annual report and high level meeting focused on reviewing progress. The first of these meetings will be held in 2009 and convened by Unicef.

A further joint Dutch-UK commitment was made of £85 million (100 million Euros) over the same period to help up to 20 poor countries develop and implement their own national water and sanitation plans.

Source: DFID, 25 Sep 2008

Other committments made during the”One World One Dream: Sanitation and Water for All” event at the UN High Level Meeting include:

  • Japan  – establishment of a Water Security Action Team for Africa to provide safe drinking water for 6.5 million people and implement a water supply capacity-building program that would train 5,000 people over the next five years;
  • Tajikistan – hosting the International Freshwater Forum in 2010;
  • The Netherlands – providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation for at least 50 million people by 2015 having already signed various agreements that will benefit almost 30 million people, at a cost of around €1.3 b;
  • Germany will continue to train Central Asian water experts.

Source: UN High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals : Committing to action: achieving the Millennium Development Goals : Compilation of Partnership Events and Commitments, 25 Sep 2008

Japan – An Extravagant Indulgence: Posh Privies

TOKYO — When it comes to saving energy, the Japanese have much to teach the United States and other rich countries, whose leaders descend on Japan next month for a Group of Eight summit.

Energy consumption per person here is about half that in the United States, and the growth of greenhouse gas emissions is slower than anywhere in the industrialized world.

There is a hiccup, though, in this world-beating record. It happens inside the Japanese home, where energy use is surging. And nothing embodies the surge quite like the toilet — a plumbing fixture that has been reengineered here as an ultracomfy energy hog.

Japanese toilets can warm and wash one’s bottom, whisk away odors with built-in fans and play water noises that drown out potty sounds. They play relaxation music, too. “Ave Maria” is a favorite.

High-end toilets can also sense when someone enters or leaves the bathroom, raising or lowering their lids accordingly. Many models have a “learning mode,” which allows them to memorize the lavatory schedules of household members.

More – Washington Post


UNITED NATIONS – / MaximsNews Network / 03 June 2008 — Tokyo – Japan concluded the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) setting a framework for a “century of African growth”.

Convening in Yokohama, Japan last week, representatives from 51 African countries, including 40 Heads of State and Government, deliberated over a series of issues to mark the African continent’s future development, among which water and sanitation figured prominently.

Read More – Maxims News