The Waste Management System in Japan: The Dilemma of Social Rationality between Local Governments and Residents

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  • ごみ分別制度をめぐる社会的合理性の相克
  • ゴミ フンベツ セイド オ メグル シャカイテキ ゴウリセイ ノ ソウコク

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<p>The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between local governments, operating at the macro level, and residents, operating at the micro level, concerning social rationality and the waste management system in Japan. In order to discuss the consistency of social rationality at micro-macro levels, we have used data collected by conducting a questionnaire survey in the cities of Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, and Minamata, Kumamoto prefecture. In conducting the survey, due attention has been paid to the city size and the characteristics of each waste management system. The results of the empirical analysis carried out on the data demonstrate that the residents with a high awareness of cost, a low consciousness of efficacy, and “free-riders”, who have little interest in waste management, tend not to contribute to recycling behaviors. In addition, it was found that environmental consciousness and normative consciousness inhibit the consciousness of cost, low efficacy and free-riders. Moreover, it can be said that the system design, which places greater responsibility on the residents by asking them to make a considerable effort to cut down on the amount of waste produced and sort it into different categories, does indeed have the constant effect of reducing waste. This is especially true if the local government exercises ingenuity in its operation. However, a social (or pro-environmental) rationality is necessary for attaining a sustainable society. If residents are able to understand the rationality of the macro level, the consistency of social rationality between local governments and residents will be conducive to solving the waste problem in Japan.</p>


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