in Environmental Conservation, together with the presentation of four excellent papers prepared Preservation of the natural environment is indisspecially for the session. So, I would like to present pensable for human beings to continue enjoying a a general survey of current environmental protection healthy and civilized life. We should not forget the measures with my focus mainly on Japan and refersober fact that environmental resources such as air, ring also to North American and European countries. water and soil are not infinite. Before the turn of the Then, out of multiple problems, I would like to focus century, the amount of natural resources consumed my attention on the acid rain and carbon dioxide by human beings was not so much as to substantially problems, as they are considered major issues of alter the planetary environment and we could reasonenvironmental protection in the near future and are ably rely on its natural power to restore anomalies. closely related to the petroleum industry.
However, with the advance of industrialization as well as the rapid increase and centralization of popu- 2. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION lation, consumption of resources has become more MEASURES AND PROGRESS IN JAPAN and more intense in such a way that restoration is much more difficult and sometimes impossible. Energy consumption in Japan recorded a corre-Aggravation of air as well as water and soil pollu- sponding increase to the rate of the country's tion has been observed in many countries and, as a economic recovery, and the growth of petroleum conresult, such sinister phenomena as acidification of sumption was particularly rapid. It overtook coal rain, diminution of forests and acceleration of deser- consumption in 1960 and continued to follow a steep tification are also appearing. In some regions, we climbing curve. In those days, residual fuel oil proobserved that the ecosystems of creatures were duction accounted for about half of the refined crude adversely affected. In some cases, even human beings oil in Japan. Almost all the residual fuel oil was were harmed directly. We must also remember that distributed to industrial plants, including electric some environmental changes are now taking place power stations, for combustion without further which have not as yet caused damage but which could refining. Almost all the crude oil refined in Japan was be very difficult to remedy if damage actually occurs. imported and the major portion of it was high sulfur We must acknowledge that many of these environ- Middle East crude. The sulfur contained in the crude mental problems are related to the petroleum oil was condensed in the residual fuel oil, and when industry. Petroleum accounts for a major part of combusted it was discharged in the air as sulfur current energy resources, the total consumption of dioxide. Al