BRI Research Paper


The Management of Land as an Environmental Resource.

K.Hayakawa; March, 1978. 40p.


Japan has 377,582 square kilometres of national land. Forest land occupies 66.9% of the total area; cultivated land, 15.9%; grassland, 1.5%; and residential land, 2.9%. Japan is characterized by complex geographical features, with basins and mountains, and is surrounded by the sea.

In these islands 111.9 million people reside. The population density is 304 persons per square kilometre. In the last 20 years, rapid economic growth has been developed in this country.

Recently, environmental deterioration in Japan has grown into a serious social problem; one of the reasons why such deterioration has been brought about is that haphazard development has been put into practice without land use planning.

In order to maintain satisfactory living conditions, which are threatened by the pressures arising from the shortage of land, it is necessary to make the most effective use of the national land available. I would like to argue that Land Use Planning could be adapted to ensure the most equable and effective use of the land because it takes account of all demands, including those of industry, environmental conservation and human settlement.

"The National Land Use Planning Act" in Japan was enacted in 1974,being based on the idea that "National land is limited and is the Nation's common property for maintaining everyday-life and productive activity; therefore, priorities should be settled for the principles of public stability and preservation of natural environment in order to insure the Nation's health and cultural living environment and to promote or establish a rational development programme for National land." To carry the Act into effect, the establishment of a proper logical system for land use planning is required.

In this paper, the author has tried to explore the theory of land use planning through theoretical examination and pratical survey of land use in Japan.

The paper has been translated because it was thought the topic might be relevant and of interest to readers, in countries other than Japan, with similar problems, despite the difference in backgrounds.

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