Nagoya University Global COE Program: From Earth System Science to Basic and Clinical Environmental Studies


Program Members

Hidefumi IMURA

Name Hidefumi IMURA Hidefumi IMURA
Position, Department Professor, Yokohama City University, Global Cooperation Institute for Sustainable Cities / GCOE  Supervisor
Research Keywords Environmental systems, resource & energy analysis, low carbon urban centers, Chinese environmental problems


It is said that 4.6 billion years have passed since the birth of the earth. I am interested in the evolution of nature (global climate change, the birth and evolution of animate beings, fluctuations in biodiversity, etc.) as it has developed on planet earth, and the relationship of that natural evolution with the history of human society as it has adapted itself to nature. At present, a single species - humankind - which should be no more than one intrinsic part of nature, is dominating the earth with total freedom. The motivation behind this domination lies in human desire, which seeks prosperity above all else, and the economic systems which have been created to fulfill that desire.

Environmental Studies has an important role; namely, the analysis of the interrelationship between economic systems and nature. Environmental Studies does not simply observe nature; rather, it should seek to prescribe human existence while simultaneously observing the impact of human activities upon nature. Furthermore, we need to acknowledge economic systems not simply as utilitarianism geared towards human profit, but as a single element in an overall global ecosystem. This is the stance of Ecological Economics, which appears similar, but in fact is quite distinct, to the most renowned theories in contemporary economics.

Throughout the course of this century, it seems likely that the world will move towards a new civilization which is not reliant on fossil fuels. This will be the biggest revolution in human society since the industrial revolution began in the latter half of the 18th century. Elsewhere, we must consider the dramatic economic growth seen in China, and the comparative decline in economic vitality here in Japan. In my research, I would like to examine the relationships between the rise and fall of nations, the economy, structural changes in industry, the consumption of resources and energy, technological innovation and so on.

Research Themes

  • Economic development and environmental problems in China and East Asia
  • Creating low carbon urban centers
  • Environmental assessment (LCA) of social capital investment
  • Environmental ideology


1969 Department of Applied Physics, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
1974 Ph.D. (Engineering), Department of Applied Physics, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
1974 Joined Ministry of the Environment
1979 Japanese Government Representative, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
1982 Policy and Coordination Division, Ministry of the Environment
1985 Public Nuisance Control Bureau, City of Yokohama
1987 Policy and Coordination Division, Ministry of the Environment
1988 Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University (Environment System Engineering Research Center)
1992 Professor, as above
2000 Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University
2001 Professor, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University
2011 Professor, Global Cooperation Institute for Sustainable Cities, Yokohama City University

Papers & Publications

  • Imura, H. (2008) Thinking Systematically about Environmental Problems. Kagaku-dojin Publishing Company. (in Japanese)
  • Imura, H. (2007) China's Environmental Problems: What is Happening Now? Kagaku-dojin Publishing Company. (in Japanese)
  • Imura, H. (ed.) (2001) LCA in Architecture. Ohmsha Ltd. (in Japanese)
  • Hidefumi Imura and Miranda Schrurs, eds: "Environmental Policy in Japan" (2004, Edward Elgar)

Lecture Courses Taught

Low Carbon Cities StudiesProgram Leader, Nagoya University Global Environmental Leaders Program (NUGELP)

Other info for HP

Nagoya University Global Environmental Leaders Program

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