Kouzu Island - Vehicle Recycling by an Entire Village


Kouzu Island. Total area 19 km2. Circumference 22 km. Population 2200. Surrounded by emerald seas, the island has ruins dating back to prehistory. It is also blessed with sweet drinking water and the natural beauty of Tenjo Mountain, which was selected as one of the 100 best Tokyo scenic views. In this era of increasing environmental awareness, Kouzu is employing cutting-edge conservation strategies to make sure that the island's natural beauty is preserved for future generations.


The Vehicle Recycling Act was designed to stop the improper handling and illegal dumping of disused vehicles, which has become a pressing social problem. The strict enforcement of the law began nationwide on January 1, 2005. But even before this, Kouzu Village had adopted its own ordinance regulating the disposal of disused vehicles. Attention should be paid to activities like these because the illegal dumping and improper disposal of disused vehicles is a problem not only on the mainland, but also on many of Japan's smaller, far-flung islands.

Using the illegal disposal of a single vehicle as an opportunity to take action, the village adopted its Ordinance for Regulating Vehicle Disposal in March, 1994. The ordinance requires that vehicle owners bear the cost of scrapping their vehicles, including motorcycles and industrial vehicles. A walk around the village makes it apparent that the ordinance is being observed: not a single dumped vehicle can be found. In fact, one cannot even find dumped household appliances or other over-sized garbage, the disposal of which is regulated by the earlier enacted Household Electrical Apparatus Recycling Act. This demonstrates the seriousness of the town's commitment to the environment.

"A wrecking yard was opened along with the adoption of the ordinance against illegal dumping," says Mr. Nakamura, manager of the Environmental Sanitary Section at the village's public office. Kouze Island is the only one of Izu Islands with its own wrecking yard. Part of the garbage disposal facility located on the edge of town, the wrecking yard uses a TOYOTA forklift manufactured by Toyota Industries Corporation to move disused vehicles. The vehicles are dismantled, parts are collected and grouped. Finally, those parts of the vehicle that cannot be reused are compressed. Complete recycling systems like this one are extremely rare, especially on small islands like Kouzu.
When asked the reason for such comprehensive action to protect the environment, Mr. Nakamura said that "because Kouzu is such a small village, any illegal dumping sticks out. For that reason, residents know that they can' t just put garbage out on the street. But, nevertheless, it's wonderful that people have cooperated so fully with the regulation." Kouzu Island has truly worked as a team in recycling its automobiles. There is a lot to be learned from their example.

With the cooperation of Kouzu Island Public Office, Tokyo
Address:904 Kouzu Island Village, Tokyo

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