Last update:
2019-04-20

Women “Soap Movement” against Freshwater Red Tide by Uroglena Americana in Lake Biwa, Shiga, Japan

A women-led movement against water pollution, red tides, eutrophication, moved administrators and companies while changing Japanese society.


Description:

Due to population growth and factories' settlements resulted from high growth, in the Shiga Prefecture, the water quality deterioration of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, had come to be regarded as a problem since late 1960[1].  Meanwhile, on 27 May 1977[2], a large scale freshwater red tide was generated by the golden alga Uroglena Americana[3] in the lake[4]. Red tides had occurred before locally[2]. However, at this time the impact was incomparable[2]. The red tide appeared on Lake North and Lake West, which were thought to be cleansed by the citizens of the prefecture[2].  

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Women “Soap Movement” against Freshwater Red Tide by Uroglena Americana in Lake Biwa, Shiga, Japan
Country:Japan
State or province:Shiga Prefecture
Location of conflict:Takashima-shi, Nagahama-shi, Hikone-shi, Ōtsu-shi, Oumihatiman-shi, Maibarashi, Yasu-shi, Kusatsu-shi, Moriyama-shi, Higashioumi-shi
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Aquaculture and fisheries
Chemical industries
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific commodities:Phosphorus, Nitrogen
Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Population of the Shiga prefecture in 1977: 1,000,000 [9]

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Project area:67,000
Level of Investment:n.a.
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:1,000,000 - 14,500,000
Start of the conflict:27/05/1977
End of the conflict:27/05/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Kao Corporation (Kao) from Japan - Release of phosphorus-free detergent "Just Powder" in March 1980 [17]
Lion Corporation (Lion) from Japan - Lion launched the industry's first non-phosphorus detergent “Seseragi” in the fall of 1973, and has continued to work on reducing phosphorus, and in 1977, completed the reduction of small concentrated phosphorus. [17]
Relevant government actors:Shiga prefecture
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Shiga Area Women's Groups' Association: http://shigawoman.jp/
-Shiga Area Council Housewife Liaison Committee: http://www.syohisyanet-shiga.jp/link3.html
-Ōtsu Co-op: https://www.pak2.com/index.html
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Consumer groups, co-ops
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Boycotts of companies-products
Going around, Demonstration (education), On-site inspection
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Other Environmental impactsOffensive odor
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The movement by local women forced the administration to the point of prohibiting the production and sale of the product that caused the red tides: the spread of this trend to the whole country has become significant for the lives of people.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Mother Lake 21 Project (accessed on 19-03-2019)
[click to view]

The regulations about prevention of eutrophication of Lake Biwa of Shiga Prefecture (accessed on 19-03-2019)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[14] Chapter 4: Social network analysis for Lake Biwa meeting (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[2] Chapter 2: Transition of the environment conservation movement in Shiga prefecture and soap movement (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[11] Muneta Y. (2 Jun. 2008). Eutrophication and Hypoxia of Lake Biwa. Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University. (accessed on25-03- 2019)
[click to view]

[13] Chapter 4: What is Soap Movement? (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[12] Chapter 3: Water quality of Lake Biwa and Yodogawa water system (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[15] Kotani H., 1984, Water pollution control of Lake Biwa, Feature: Lake Biwa development and environmental protection technology, Vol. 13, No. 7 (accessed on 12-04-2019)
[click to view]

[17] Udou Y., Relationship between entry order and market share in the domestic laundry detergent market (accessed on 12-04-2019)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Sekken Hyakka (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

Lake area (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[6] Kyoto Shinbun "The present soap movement", 17 May 2015 (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[8] Eutrophication problem, Lake Biwa Handbook revised edition (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

About Prefecture liaison meeting of civic movement to promote the usage of powder soap to protect Lake Biwa, Paragraph 3 (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

Shiga water environment business promotion forum, System design, approach for water environmental preservation of Lake Biwa by administration (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[1] Shiga water environment business promotion forum, Activities of citizens of the prefecture who protect Lake Biwa (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[7] Lake Biwa and human life, Lake Biwa Handbook revised edition (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[16] Kao (accessed on 12-04-2019)
[click to view]

[3] Freshwater red tide (accessed on 30-03-2019)
[click to view]

[4] About present conditions and problem measures of environmental problems of Lake Biwa (accessed on 30-03-2019)
[click to view]

[18] Lion (accessed on 12-04-2019)
[click to view]

[9] Shiga prefecture, Population and number of households in Shiga prefecture (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

Shiga Prefecture, Overview of Lake Biwa (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[10] Nihon Keizai Shinbun "Stop the red tide by Public-Private relationship - Lake Biwa Environment Regeneration Path (1)”, 18 May 2015 (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

[5] Shiga prefecture, The 30th anniversary of the Day of Biwako (accessed on 25-03-2019)
[click to view]

Other documents

Women were at the center of the soap movement A parade of about 250 people calling for the use of powder soap in a shopping street (April 1979, Ōtsu city)
[click to view]

Soap movement (1970s) aiming to expel synthetic detergent State of soap movement
[click to view]

Lake Biwa simultaneous cleaning, preservation activity of Yoshi community State of Lake Biwa simultaneous cleaning
[click to view]

Citizenship to protect Lake Biwa connected by "Mother Lake Forum" 1 State of Mother Lake Forum
[click to view]

Citizenship to protect Lake Biwa connected by "Mother Lake Forum" 2 State of Mother Lake Forum
[click to view]

Rainwater use Image of rainwater use as one of the current soap movement's activities
[click to view]

Demonstration Demonstration of washing and comparing synthetic detergent and soap using two washing machines
[click to view]

Experience reaping and picking of aquatic plants Experience reaping and picking of aquatic plants that breed well in the water and affect water quality
[click to view]

Release Wataka by children 1 In order to reduce the unusually abandant aquatic plants in South Lake, children release juveniles of an endemic species, Wataka, of the Lake Biwa, which is herbivorous and endagered.
[click to view]

Release Wataka by children 2 In order to reduce the unusually abandant aquatic plants in South Lake, children release juveniles of an endemic species, Wataka, of the Lake Biwa, which is herbivorous and endagered.
[click to view]

Biwako Floating School Biwako Floating School: Learn the importance of touching Lake Biwa and protecting the environment
[click to view]

"Mizuuminoko" water survey using a water tank Observe the transparency by looking from the side of the dial placed in the elongated water tank
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/Natsuka Kuroda,[email protected]
Last update20/04/2019
Comments
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