Domestic Hidden Flows

Soil excavated during construction activities dominates domestic hidden flows. Only surplus soil, which means the soil excavated and then moved out of the construction site to landfill or other sites for application, is quantified by official surveys. The total quantity of soil excavation by construction activities is much greater, because excavation work is usually designed to balance 'cut and fill', to use excavated soil on site and minimize the generation of surplus soil.

Hidden flows associated with mining activities are trivial in quantity in Japan, because of the limited resources of fossil fuels and metal ores. Consequently, the contribution of domestic hidden flows to total domestic output (TDO) is relatively small, compared with more resource-rich countries. It should be borne in mind that the small size of domestic hidden flows is counterbalanced by imported hidden flows associated with imported metals and energy carriers; this represents the transfer of Japan's environmental burden to its trade partners, which the first joint report emphasized (Adriaanse et al. 1997).

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