Eco-Towns are areas approved by the government (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry or Ministry of the Environment) where nature-friendly, environmentally harmonizing development proceeds based on the government's Zero Emission Concept (a concept to recreate all the wastes generated from an industry into usable materials for another industry sector, aiming at eliminating any types of wastes). There are 26 approved Eco-Town Programs across the country.
Northern Akita used to be one of the world's most productive mine areas, possessing the top technology for processing complex sulfide mineral called black ore, one of the major minerals found here. To take advantage of the former mine lands, inherited technological expertise, and existing smelting plants, commercialization of metal recycling has been promoted in this region. At the same time, as the host of a vigorous lumber industry producing Akita cedar and one of the prefecture's largest vegetable producers especially in its coastal area, northern Akita has been seeking solutions for processing industrial wastes. Under these circumstances, nine municipalities in this area along the Yoneshirogawa River decided to establish an eco-town by strengthening collaboration among them in waste disposal initiatives and implementation of resource-recycling industries with the aim of creating a society in harmony with the rich natural environment.