Kitakyushu City: Mayor Kenji Kitahashi

After overcoming its industrial pollution issues through developing ecotechnology, Kitakyushu City sought to aid developing countries experiencing similar environmental issues. As such, the city has been leading other municipalities in enforcing international environmental cooperation since the 1980s, and its efforts have been highly evaluated globally.

In 2011, along with being selected to be a “Future City” and a “Green Asia International Strategic Comprehensive Special Zone,” the city was chosen as a Green Growth City by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) because of its ability to balance the environment and the economy.

By applying its experience and know-how that it has accumulated, Kitakyushu City aims to work hand-in-hand with other ICLEI members in order to realize a sustainable global society.

Overview of Kitakyushu City


Population:958,015(As of 1 June 2016)

Kitakyushu City is situated at the gateway of the Kyushu region, between Honshu and Kyushu, and is geographically important for land and sea transportation of goods. Because of the city’s unique spatial context, in the modern era, it has developed as a city of manufacturing, supporting Japan’s industrialization. Beginning with raw materials such as iron, steel and chemicals, a wide range of industries such as for electronic appliances, machines, semiconductors, vehicles, have accumulated. In recent years, innovation of energy conservation technology and eco-products have also been flourishing.

Environmental initiatives

Currently, Kitakyushu City has engaged in city-to-city cooperation with Chinese cities in order to mitigate air pollution. In order to address pollutants such as PM2.5 in particular, the city has implemented measures such as conducting research cooperatively, dispatching experts, and inviting Chinese people to engage in training programs. Furthermore, the city has developed the “Kitakyushu Model,” which combines technology and know-how from the city’s own experience in transforming from a polluted city to an environmental city. By proactively exporting environmentally friendly infrastructure such as waste disposal and water management, Kitakyushu is working towards the development of a low-carbon society.

Recognized for its leading efforts on smart community and hydrogen-fueled society, Kitakyushu hosted the G7 Kitakyushu Energy Ministerial Meeting in May 2016, through which a joint statement was developed. The joint statement was reported to the G7 Ise Shima Summit and became the basis of discussion among the national leaders. 

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