Many parts of Japan have experienced rapid urbanization and industrialization over the past 50 years. This trend resulted in severe water pollution in many urban areas. To address the pollution problems, several measures such as construction of sewerage systems and enactment of laws and regulations have been undertaken. Because of these measures, the water quality has been improved to some extent. However, many water quality concerns still remain and are attributed in part to diffuse pollution. In this paper, historical progress, present situation and future aspects of diffuse pollution problems in Japan are reviewed. It is noted that solving diffuse pollution problems will require a combination of several measures including application of conventional treatment technologies and natural purification systems, implementation of appropriate policy measures, and promotion of citizen participation.

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