Sustainability in Action : Akira Sakano interview

Akira Sakano, is a key player in the successful development and planning of the zero-waste town, Kamikatsu (Tokushima). In this 30 minute interview she lays out some of the important elements of creating and maintaining sustainability that can be applied to any community worldwide.

Sakano has had a very successful and interesting career. As a bird-lover, she was inspired to study environmental conservation at university. She is originally a native of Kobe, but has settled into her role as communications director for the last 5 years travelling around the world passing on the stories of success and challenges of Kamikatsu’s Zero-Waste targets to the world. For the last 2 years she has held the position as the head of the board of the Zero-Waste Academy NPO. This Zero-Waste Academy oversees operations of the garbage sorting facility, the “Kuru-Kuru” reuse shop as well as the upcycle shop. Tours of the facility and other educational projects are also implemented by this NPO.

Some of my favorite points from this interview are when she emphasizes the need to have an open-dialogue between planners and local residents. I believe that the work Sakano-san and Azuma-san do in liason between the local government and community members is such a vital part of the town’s overall success in implementing positive environmental, social and financial change.


Writing about Hiroshima for over twenty years. Co-founded GetHiroshima in 1999 and founded the sustainability-focused InboundAmbassador business in 2019. Monthly CleanUp and Seeking Sustainability event organizer, guide workshop facilitator, online content creator and tourism destination consultant. Passionate about promoting solutions in Japan for people and the planet.

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