Journeys in Japan

Season 3, Episode 45 of 52

On this journey, we visit Yokkaichi in northern Mie, central Japan. This industrial city, with a population of just over 300,000, is home to Japan's first petrochemical complex. It's known as the place where air pollution from sulfurous acid gas emissions caused respiratory diseases, called "Yokkaichi asthma," in the 1960s. Thanks to sweeping environmental protection measures, the environment has been vastly cleaned up, and the petrochemical complex has become a source of tourism-especially its nighttime factory cruises. The city is also famous for its ceramic ware, called Banko-yaki. Some local studios offer pottery-making workshops. Visitors can also take in the tea fields that flank the city's edge and enjoy high-quality beverage in a cafe run by a tea-farming family. Journalist Alice Gordenker travels to Yokkaichi, a city that has recovered from air pollution.

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