Environmental information and propensity to help developing countries: An experimental survey of citizens in Kitakyushu, Japan
Sustain. Environ. Res., 24(3), 161-171 (2014)
Takaaki Kato, Eri Himeshima, Hai Hoang, Van Quang Tran and Hidenori Nakamura
Environmental cooperation, municipality, citizen, learning
Japanese municipalities have provided significant support for improving environment to developing countries. The motivation behind this study was that the growing requirements for Japanes local governments to gain support from citizens might cause a problem. The problem was the disparity between donor citizens and recipients in the aid envisioned. In our social survey, we investigated the views of citizens in Kitakyushu, Japan, within a specific context of helping large Vietnamese cities. In particular, we mentioned Da Nang City as an example. Many of our respondents chose “drinking water quality,” “river/sea pollution,” and “waste management” as important environmental problems in the Vietnamese cities. These problems were in line with those officially recognized by the administrators of Da Nang. However, there were sharp differences in perceived environmental problems between the respondents and urban dwellers in Da Nang. Background knowledge of Vietnam, owing to previous visits there, and of Kitakyushu's aid activities in the country clearly affected the choices of the important environmental problems. Provision of information on the environment in Da Nang changed the ranking among the top four problems, but the items within the set remained the same as before. Both knowledge gained as a result of visiting Vietnam and knowledge of Kitakyushu's aid activities in the country contributed to maintaining initial views after the presentation of the Da Nang information. The implications of these results in citizen education by municipalities are discussed with reference to the ideas of problem-based learning.