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Trip Planner Asia  /  Japan  /  Kyushu  /  Kumamoto Prefecture  /  Minamata


Minamata is a city located in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It is on the west coast of Kyūshū and faces Amakusa islands. Minamata was established as a village in 1889, re-designated as a town in 1912 and grew into a city in 1949.As of March 2017, the city has an estimated population of 25,310 and a population density of 160 persons per km². The total area is 162.88 km².Minamata is known due to Minamata disease, a neurological disorder caused by mercury poisoning. The disease was discovered in 1956. A local chemical plant was blamed for causing the disease by emitting untreated wastewater to the Minamata Bay.Lately, Minamata has focused on becoming a model environmental city. In 1999, the city obtained the ISO 14001 certification for Environmental Management. In 2001, Minamata became an official Japanese Eco-town. In 2004 and 2005, Minamata won the Japanese Top Eco-City contest.Minamata environmental disasterHistoryThe city is best known as the former site of an environmental disaster caused by industrial pollution of the bay with mercury. From 1932 to 1968, the chemical company Chisso discharged effluent containing methyl mercury from their plant in Minamata. Methyl mercury contaminated the Minamata Bay and accumulated in fish, which were then consumed by the local population.
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