Groundwater is extremely important to all societies. It provides in many places a reliable and ample supply of water for home use, irrigation, and industry. Japanese groundwater policy consists of complex laws and rules. The law governing groundwater nationally is inadequate. The main controversy has been that a river law exists only at a national level, whereas groundwater law does not exist in the national law of Japan. When local government faces problems with groundwater, the policy makers have to solve the problem following their local rules. Each local government solves problems case by case. Local government is used to obeying local rules and old traditions. Local common law becomes the local groundwater rule. Groundwater policy has recently been progressively promoted to an evolution of the local groundwater ordinances for sustainable groundwater conservation. This paper describes the complex legal framework of the related local groundwater policy and regulations under Japanese law. This is a bibliographic survey of Japanese groundwater laws and local groundwater ordinances. It is used to analyze the functions of local autonomy and the role of ordinances and to explain its changing functionalities of groundwater ordinances. Local ordinances are known as the strongest conservation legal network for sustainable groundwater policy in Japan. This is the first paper to try to explain the basic principles of the Japanese groundwater law for an international journal.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited