News | December 20, 2000

Japan may issue light-pollution law

Japan's Environment Agency is scheduled to formulate a bylaw by spring 2001 to combat light pollution. The law is likely to follow guidelines that the agency drew up in June for local authorities.

According to Environment Agency estimates, were lighting limited to actual needs, Japan's power consumption on outdoor nocturnal lighting could be reduced by 18%—equal to a 200,000-tpy cut in CO2 emissions.

In defining actual needs, an agency spokesperson gave the following examples to Asahi Shimbun:

  • Until 1998, 13 mercury street lamps designed to illuminate a museum's exterior shed light in other directions as well. When they were replaced with sodium lights that shone only downward, their illumination of the museum doubled but the museum's electricity use fell by 50%.

  • Similarly, in Omiya, Saitama Prefecture, conventional lighting on a 1.5-km stretch of the Nishi Omiya bypass was replaced with a non-glare type, raised to a height of 15 meters from its previous 10 and with the distance between stanchions increased from 35 to 60 meter. Designed to illuminate only the road, the new-style lights' power use fell 20%, but the brightness level remained as before. (The Japan Highway Public Corp. has begun installing the same type of lights at service areas nationwide.)

Japan currently has no laws regulating light pollution on a national scale.

Edited by Paul Hersch
Managing Editor, Pollution Online