Why Is Japan So Clean?

If you’ve ever visited Japan, one of the first things you might notice about the place is how clean it is. While there are still some areas that need tackling, such as the copious amounts of trash in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan is often considered a very clean country.

Why Is Japan So Clean

But how does the country stay so clean? There is little graffiti, almost no litter lying on the ground, and no signs that warn you of a high fine for such an offense. So how does Japan stay so clean? Let’s find out. 

Seven Reasons Why Japan Is So Clean

Through our research we have found seven reasons why Japan is maintained so well and kept as clean as it is. 

There Are No Public Trash Cans

Our first point is an interesting one, as you would assume that no public trash cans would mean that more people would litter. At least, that’s what would happen in America – right?

Public trash cans are everywhere you look to deter people from not littering on the ground. 

However, in Japan they have been taught to deal with their own litter rather than having someone else take care of their mess. This means that they will take it home with them instead of relying on public workers to empty public trash cans for them. 

Volunteers For Litter Cleaning Organizations

Some good samaritans will volunteer to litter cleaning organizations, which are not for profit so they’re getting no money for doing this, will clean any litter up around their town. These organizations are found all over Japan, which helps to keep the entire country as clean as it is. 

These organizations will often focus on high traffic areas where litter is most likely, such as near the train station and anywhere that tourists might visit.

However, litter picking doesn’t mean the same as what it does in the rest of the world. Instead of picking up cans and food wrappers, these NPOs focus on tiny pieces of paper and cigarette butts – because that is all the litter they can find! 

Neighborhood Cleaning Parties Are Common

Similar to the NPOs, neighborhoods will also often get together and clean up their area of Japan. This is common practice in many neighborhoods all over the country, and anyone who does not join will be somewhat looked down upon.

These parties involve cleaning litter, trimming trees, clearing drains, weeding any plants or gardens, and more. They will also clean public toilets and more to keep their neighborhood looking presentable for any visitors.

This dedication to their surroundings is something to look highly on, as we don’t know anyone in our neighborhood who would do this! 

Keeping Things Clean Is Made To Be As Easy As Possible

In Japan, it is normal for you to get a convenience store bag with every purchase, even if you only buy one thing. This is so that the bag can be used for your waste throughout the day.

For example, if you buy a can of pop you’re not going to want to carry the empty can around in your purse. This might prompt you to litter. 

However, if you have your convenience store bag with you, you can use this as a place to store your litter until you get home. 

Another thing that we found interesting is that every seat on long distance buses comes with an individual trash bag that you can use to dispose of your waste properly. They can then take this home and dispose of it properly instead of littering. 

You’re Expected To Look After Your Space

Private house and business owners are expected to keep their private lot clean and free of any litter. This includes the outside of the building, covering the street in front of it.

If everyone were to abide by this rule in the US, then the country would automatically become cleaner within moments thanks to everyone working as a team. 

Cleaning up the entire neighborhood can sound daunting, but if every inhabitant is already looking after their own space, then the job becomes much easier to handle. 

Nothing Is Spared A Good Cleaning

In Japan, it is the norm to clean absolutely everything – it looks better than way! Even vehicles on the road are kept clean at all times. One of the most surprising yet effective methods of keeping the country clean is how trucks are used and maintained. 

Construction trucks, such as dirt haulers and cement mixers, get dirty incredibly quickly due to their job. While other countries might accept this as the vehicle’s fate, Japan ensures that the vehicles are washed every night by the drivers.

This keeps them clean most of the time and contributes to Japan’s overall cleanliness. 

This is the same for other drivers as well, such as those with taxis and semi-trailers. Everyone takes pride in their vehicles in Japan, ensuring that they’re always clean and therefore contributing to the overall spotless look of the country. 

Even Trash Is Kept Clean

Household waste will need to be taken to the designated curb of your neighborhood before it is collected. You will also be expected to separate it properly for recycling.

Neighbors will take it in turns to oversee this process and ensure that everyone’s rubbish is up to standard.

This is called gomi toban and will have you taking responsibility for your trash. Not rinsed the bottles of food waste properly? You’ll have to take them back home again. 

Summary

And there we have it! Seven reasons why Japan is such a clean country. Of course, everywhere in the world has their messier side, but Japanese residents take more pride in the appearance of their country than other countries do. 

When they talk about litter in Japan, they are not referring to food wrappers and plastic bottles – they are talking about tiny little scraps of paper and cigarette butts. In fact, most of the litter in Japan comes from disrespectful tourists!

Aura Ruggeri
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