Japan for Sustainability

japan flagJapan for Sustainability is a non-profit with a mission to inform the world on Japanese advances toward sustainability.  They appear to be one of few Japanese entities we’ve encountered who has a well put together website in English, making it accessible to us and many of the world’s non-Japanese speakers. One of the first things to highlight about their philosophy on sustainability is that the best innovations don’t always come from the future – we should also look to the past for good models where minimalism, recycling, and self-sustainability were practiced.  In Japan, the Edo Period presents one such model, running from the 17th to 19th century. They also place a lot of faith in (and responsibility on) the generation of youth.  In fact, they have a separate website in English dedicated to children.  It includes various “How To”s, like “how to have a car without owning it”, “how to get what we want without buying things”, and “how we can make people pay for their pollution.”  None of their tips are particularly ground-breaking, however what is innovative and encouraging is the emphasis they place on instilling the ideas of sustainability early in a child’s life.

For the rest of us, there’s their main page – a series of daily articles covering such categories as energy, transportation, material reduction, food/water, and technology, to name a few.

Highlights include a juice-powered car developed by a Japanese toy company called Tomy Co.  This is a toy-sized car, however it is intended to be an environmental education toy.  The technology used is being researched for more practical uses in the future.  Japan for Sustainability also writes about Fuji Xerox, who has replaced its fleet of motorcycles, used by repair engineers, with power-assisted bikes.  They claim this has reduced their carbon footprint by 335 tons in the past 4 years.  Lastly, they highlight Pizza Hut, of all things, as a model for supporting domestic rice farmers by using rice flour in its pizza dough.

We are pursuing further conversations with JFS as their goals and model seem close to ours.

-Terra Curtis