WWF Japan Conservation Annual Report (FY 2019)


Having established five priority areas of conservation, the Conservation Division at WWF Japan has set up five corresponding groups to carry out activities that address each area. Below are highlights of those activities from the year ended June 30, 2019, in which there was particularly significant progress, or for which special measures were taken. Following that is a concise summary of each group’s plan of activity and overall progress. The division has also undertaken new initiatives on themes that cut across each of the groups, and which focus on strengthening cooperation with overseas bodies. These are also highlighted in the report.

Activity Highlights for the Year Ended June 30, 2019

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 [Climate change]

Japan Climate Initiative (JCI) launched, Japan’s first network of non-state actors addressing climate change

The Japan Climate Initiative (JCI)—a network of Japanese companies, local governments, NGOs and other non-state actors—was launched on July 6, 2018.
Even after the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, with seemingly no end to the severe damage caused by climate change all over the world, there have been strong calls for significantly reduced emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. However, since measures that rely on national governments alone are not sufficient to deal with climate change, the role of such initiatives by “non-state actors” is also growing internationally.
During the year ended June 30, 2019, in its capacity as a secretariat organization of JCI, WWF Japan participated in the Global Climate Action Summit, which was held in San Francisco in September. With more than 4,000 non-state actors and governments from all over the world in attendance, we communicated Japanese initiatives to the international community, and together with US non-state actors, we signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to work together toward strengthening measures against global warming. Then, at the Japan Climate Action Summit, which was held in Tokyo in October, with about 700 participants in attendance, we announced an ambitious declaration, pledging to promote climate change countermeasures in order to realize a decarbonized society.
The number of companies and organizations participating in JCI has swelled in its inaugural year from 105 to 378. As Japan’s only organization that unites diverse entities, JCI will keep striving to strengthen efforts aimed at realizing the Paris Agreement.

[Forest conservation]

Support given to launch of platform for sustainable natural rubber

In recent years, the development of rubber tree plantations for the purpose of producing natural rubber used in products such as tires, the soles of shoes, medical gloves has contributed to deforestation in Southeast Asia. Given that about 70 percent of natural rubber production is used in automobile tires, there was a growing need in related industries to shift to production and use of rubber that is considerate of ecosystems and human rights.
In response, the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) was launched on October 25, 2018, led by WWF along with global tire giants such as Bridgestone and Michelin.
In Indonesia, and Thailand, Myanmar and other places in the Mekong River region, which are some of the major production areas for natural rubber, WWF has also implemented projects designed to realize the sustainable production of natural rubber.
Having also been selected as a member of the GPSNR Executive Committee—one of the decision-making groups of the organization—WWF will continue to put effort into ensuring the platform can further expand the sustainable production and use of natural rubber.

[Marine conservation]

Urged Japanese government to take further steps to resolve marine plastics pollution issues

Ahead of the G20 Osaka Summit in June 2019, WWF handed Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono a written proposal for resolving the marine plastic pollution.
It had been noted that marine pollution caused by plastic waste is getting worse year by year. Already, more than 700 marine species have been affected by the accidental ingestion of plastic waste. Not only this, economic losses in the tourism and other industries are also thought to be enormous.
In response, taking the opportunity of the G20 Summit, WWF suggested to the Japanese government that Japan take the initiative in promoting efforts for significantly reducing the production and cross-border movement of plastics by 2030, by establishing a legally binding international framework. Furthermore, together with more than 10 domestic organizations, WWF also submitted a joint statement to the Japanese Minister of the Environment, calling for a shift from an economic structure premised on mass consumption to a “circular economy” social structure, and for the establishment of effective legal regulations on the plastic material cycle, from manufacture through to disposal.
During the year ended June 30, 2019, we also began supporting a beach cleanup activity on Ishigaki Island to salvage plastic waste that had drifted ashore the island. We also supported and took part in a waste collection event that attracted more than 200 participants. WWF Japan will continue to strive for the resolution of issues through policy recommendations and on-site actions.

[Wildlife]

A research report highlights Japan’s problem of unregulated trade of exotic pets

In October 2018, we released a report examining the trade and market of otters, which have gained popularity as “exotic pets” in Japan, and warned against the possibility that Japan’s legal system and booming demand were leading to smuggling of otters into the country.
Otters are designated as a globally endangered species and their international trade is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, also known as the Washington Convention), but since 2016, there has been continuous reports of smuggling cases of otters from Southeast Asia into Japan. The research found that otters are being sold at pet shops in Japan at prices in excess of 1 million yen per animal. Indications from the research also extended to the fact that demand was being boosted by TV, online and other forms of media kindling the pet boom in the programs they broadcast and the messages they voice. Japan is attracting international criticism for its attitude to such rare animals from overseas being commonly sold and kept as exotic pets.
The August 2019 the Conference of the Parties to CITES made the decision to prohibit international trade of the Small-clawed Otter. Within Japan too, new regulations will be introduced in response to this decision. We will continue to engage the government, animal dealers and other relevant stakeholders.

[Activities in Japan]

Emergency statement issued, calling for review of resurfaced plan for large cruise ships to dock on Amami Oshima Island

In response to plans being put forward by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to dock large cruise ships with the capacity of carrying some 4,000 passengers in Kagoshima Prefecture, WWF issued an emergency statement to national and local governments as well as to Royal Caribbean Cruises on February 15, 2019.Previously in 2016, the same company had similarly planned to construct tourist facilities and a dock for large cruise ships in the town of Tatsugo on Amami Oshima, but had withdrawn the plan following opposition voiced by local residents and a statement made by WWF.
The new development plan is for waters off of Nishikomi, a village of less than 40 inhabitants in the town of Setouchi on Amami Oshima Island. In a rapid assessment of local marine environment carried out by WWF and scientists in April and May, along with endangered species of coral, white-spotted pufferfish (Torquigener albomaculosus) were confirmed to inhabit the area—a species of fish which can only be found in the waters around Amami Oshima, and which are known for drawing “mystery circles” on the sea floor. There had been concerns that, if continued as planned, the development would place considerable impacts on the village’s marine ecosystem and local community. In the end of opposition campaigns and demands by WWF, local conservation group and residents, the Setouchi Town local government announced it would abandon the plan in August 2019. Given there are also concerns that inscription of the Nansei Islands on the procedure of World Natural Heritage Listing will lead to an increase of similar development plans in the future, we will continue to make approaches to relevant organizations while examining general trends in the tourism industry.

[Activities for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games]

Initiatives leveraging the legacy of a sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games

The upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 are the first games declaring a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable Sourcing Codes for materials, energy (decarbonization), and foodstuffs has also been considered and formulated with consideration for sustainability. However, the policies are flawed, especially the ones connected with forest and marine conservation, such as for wood, paper, palm oil and marine products. Moreover, in terms of Olympic legacy, it is likely that this will become a guideline for similar policies in the future for companies and local governments in Japan.
Therefore, as a member of the Tokyo 2020 Urban Planning and Sustainability Committee, WWF Japan expressed its opinions with regard to procurement criteria of the policy, and called for stricter goals to be set. During the year ended June 30, 2019, we carried out activities disseminating information to the corporate and media sectors on how the sourcing codes and its standards ought to be as the legacy for the future. In September 2019, a symposium was held as a culmination of these activities.
Given that many companies and local governments will maintain and expand their efforts aimed at realizing a sustainable society even after the games conclude, WWF will work to ensure that the current sourcing code leaves no major problems for Japan as a whole.

[Priority activities in the Asia-Pacific region for the prevention of wildlife trafficking]

Led by WWF Japan, a call was put out to the WWF offices in each of the 23 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region for cooperation in considering the environmental protection issues that ought to be tackled as a regional priority and the solution strategies for those problems. As a result, it became clear that the most common problem that countries are trying to actively tackle is the illegal wildlife trade.
An international workshop was subsequently held in November 2018, bringing together WWF experts on this issue from the Asia-Pacific region along with conservation directors from the region, to examine which activities should be tackled in the medium term and the expected outcomes of these activities. It was agreed that achieving results in six broad areas could contribute greatly to resolving the illegal wildlife trade in the Asia-Pacific region (1. Shut down all illegal physical and online markets for wildlife; 2. Block routes for the trafficking of wildlife; 3. Eliminate wildlife trafficking from important wildlife habitats and landscapes; 4. Crack down on the illegal wildlife trade as a major financial crime; 5. One billion people in the Asia-Pacific region stop buying illegal wildlife products; 6. Governments in the Asia-Pacific region take strong policies against the illegal wildlife trade).
To achieve these expected outcomes, WWF CEOs from the 23 countries mentioned above gathered for a meeting in Tokyo in February 2019, where WWF Japan proposed an idea to set up regional hub to promote cooperative frameworks among each country, concept for activity plan, and a draft budget. Approval was obtained from a majority of countries.
Going forward, we will implement collaboration swiftly in cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region, promoting more specific selection of species to be protected and further strengthening cooperation with external organizations.


Group Work Plans and Progress Reports

At WWF Japan, based on our Five-Year Medium-Term Plan, we establish annual work plans, and while reviewing those plans, carry out activities in line with five themes. Below is a report on activities for the year ended June 30, 2019, including those activities highlighted above, presented in line with the goals and outcomes of each activity. We also responded as a conservation group to urgent matters not initially included in the annual work plan, details of which are also reported.

1.Climate Change and Energy Group: Work Plan and Progress Report

In terms of our activities related to global warming (climate change), achieving the aim listed in the 2015 Paris Agreement has become a central pillar, that is, to limit the rise in the average global temperature to below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. In international arena, this goal has begun to be widely recognized as being essential to minimizing the future impact of global warming.
As well as during negotiations at international conferences, WWF has also been strongly urging national governments, local governments and companies to achieve this goal. During the past year in particular, we have begun to see new developments, including by the Japanese government announcing a long-term strategy to combat global warming, and by companies clarifying their intent to voluntarily contribute to achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement. Nevertheless, Japan’s efforts are still not enough to actualize the aims of the agreement and to limit the impact of global warming.

Activities at United Nations conferences (international advocacy)

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For the world to move forward toward implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For the Implementation Guidelines of the Paris Agreement (commonly known as the “Paris Rulebook”) to be adopted, and for the content of those rules to contribute to strengthening the reduction of greenhouse gases under the Paris Agreement.
  2. For there to be an increase in the number of media coverages grounded on the viewpoint of preventing global warming held by WWF.
  3. That the “Global Warming of 1.5°C” report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) be reported in a way that can raise targets under the Paris Agreement.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland (COP24), the Paris Rulebook was successfully adopted, and the contents became satisfactory with the potential to strengthen ambitious reduction in greenhouse gases.
  2. As a result of continuing to hold study sessions and repeatedly providing information and commentary to the media, almost all of the media reports on COP24 were neutral in content based on a viewpoint of environmental protection. On the ground at international conferences, we also provided information to reporters as a member of Climate Action Network Japan (CAN-Japan), an NGO tackling the problems of climate change. As a result, almost all media reports were accurate and pointed out the issues of global warming correctly.
  3. We focused on activities aimed at raising awareness of this matter by providing information to prominent media and lecturing at events. This contributed to instilling awareness among companies and local governments that measures along the lines of “Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2020” (which is required to realize a rise of less than 1.5°C) are advanced, and that the 2°C target is outdated.
 

Activities in Japan (domestic advocacy)

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For the Japanese government to adopt and implement necessary measures for a decarbonized society.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For the Japanese government to begin reviewing the 2030 reduction target stated in its nationally determined contributions (NDCs); and to formulate and submit a long-term strategy consistent with the Paris Agreement.
  2. For important targets and activities to be determined to reduce the use of coal, which is the fossil fuel that most contributes to global warming.
  3. For the Olympic and Paralympic Games Sustainability Sourcing Codes for energy to reflect the WWF’s demand for environmental consideration.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. The Japan Climate Initiative (JCI) was established—a network of companies, local governments, NGOs and other organizations that support “decarbonization,” that is, not being reliant on coal, oil and other sources of carbon dioxide emissions. JCI made approaches to the government and strengthened the efforts of participating organizations through such activities as holding events in Japan and overseas and issuing statements. These developments led to the government stipulating “decarbonization as early as possible in the second half of this century” in its long-term strategy for global warming countermeasures.
  2. Based on the WWF’s “Long-term Scenarios for Decarbonizing Japan,” a request has been made in cooperation with WWF International for coal usage plans indicated in “The Japan’s Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement” by the Japanese government. Having received endorsement from many companies and other organizations, JCI also issued statements in Japan and overseas referring to the breakaway from a reliance on fossil fuels, including coal-fired power generation.
  3. The Sustainability Sourcing Codes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games were mostly completed in March 2018. Assessed from the “consideration for the environment” perspective emphasized by WWF, the content of policies in the area of “decarbonization” was commendable. The content regarding sustainable procurement of marine products was not worthy of evaluation, and there were also many conspicuous inadequacies when it came to the sourcing code for wood, paper and palm oil which have a serious bearing on forest conservation.
 

Collaboration with companies

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For Japanese companies to work on reducing carbon dioxide emissions significantly from a medium- to long-term perspective.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For there to be an increase in the number of companies participating in the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. The “Ranking of Japanese Corporations for Effective Efforts to Address Climate and Energy Issues” reports covering 11 new sectors (including land transportation, maritime transportation, air transportation, machinery, precision equipment, chemical, and pulp and paper) were released. Based on the reports, we engaged in separate dialogue with each company, appealing to the importance of SBT. As a result, the total number of companies in Japan committing to SBT increased to 77 (as of June 2019). Twenty-three new companies were approved by SBTi (for a cumulative total of 44 companies).
 

Collaboration in the community (collaboration with local governments)

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For socially and environmentally low impact renewable energy to spread in regions across Japan.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For zoning mapping (activity to select suitable locations for development of renewable energies) based on the WWF zoning project in Naruto City to begin spreading to other municipalities.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. Utilizing the “Zoning Handbook,” which was prepared based on the outcomes of a model project conducted in the city of Naruto, appeals were made to 34 municipalities to undertake similar initiatives (a total of 14 prefectures and 58 municipalities had been approached by June 30, 2019). The number of zonings implemented by local governments thus far in Japan has increased to 18.


 

2.Forestry Group: Work Plan and Progress Report

Deforestation around the world has taken on a serious complexion, especially in tropical countries, due to the production of wood and paper and to the development of farms for growing crops. Since most of these products are exported to developed countries where they are consumed, the responsibility in “procurement” by governments and companies in these developed countries is being called into question as a significant issue.
The import and consumption in Japan of products such as those made from wood, paper, palm oil, and natural rubber are also deeply connected to these issues of global forest conservation. Especially in recent years, in Southeast Asian countries, where years of political turmoil are moving toward resolution and there has been increased economic activity, concerns have been raised about deforestation that is also connected with consumption in Japan. In addition to Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries where WWF Japan has been engaged in activities for a while, we are working with local WWF offices to expand new forest conservation activities in countries such as Thailand and Myanmar.

Forest conservation on the island of Borneo

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • To stem deforestation and the associated ecological destruction in Borneo, especially to the extent that derives from consumption in Japan.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
[Conservation activities in Kalimantan]
  1. To maintain zero damage from human-elephant conflicts in areas where projects are carried out.
  2. To safely capture a Sumatran rhinoceros, a species on the brink of extinction occurring in the area where forests may disappear, to relocate it to a sanctuary.
[Palm oil]
  1. To start providing support to farms participating in the projects, for the sustainable production of palm oil and establishment of unions.
  2. For major companies that are using palm oil in Japan to have begun considering the use of certified oil products with RSPO, an international certification for sustainable palm oil.
[Biomass]
  1. For WWF to establish policy of sustainable use of biofuel, to prevent procurement of biofuel leading to further deforestation.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
[Conservation activities in Kalimantan]
  1. Seeking to prevent human-elephant conflict, we provided information and conducted awareness-raising activities for local residents. Damage from such clashes was kept to zero.
  2. In November 2018, one Sumatran rhinoceros (nicknamed “Pahu”) was captured, and with the utmost care, she was successfully relocated to a sanctuary. As of August 2019, Pahu was in good health, actively eating feed inside the facility.
[Palm oil]
  1. A basic study was completed on the production of oil palms in the target regions of Kalimantan. Smallholder farmers were selected to receive support, and support commenced for the sustainable production of palm oil. Support was also provided to the local provincial government for making a map that clarifies forests with high conservation value.
  2. Two major companies began operating in accordance with policies for the sustainable procurement of palm oil. As of June 30, 2019, another two companies were considering formulating a similar policy.
[Biomass]
  1. In May 2019, WWF formulated a position paper on the sustainability of biomass fuel. The paper was presented at a seminar in June. One major trading company has begun referring to this position in examining the sustainability of biomass. Additionally, the number of cases where problems of biomass fuel sustainability are raised is expected to increase in the future, including the large-scale biomass power generation plan at Maizuru Port in Kyoto Prefecture, for which we submitted a request for improvement.
 

Forest conservation on the island of Sumatra

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • To stem deforestation and the associated ecological destruction in Sumatra, especially to the extent that derives from consumption in Japan.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
[Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park / Tesso Nilo National Park]
  1. In Bukit Barisan Selatan, for good progress to be made in the population survey of endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, using camera traps and the secured habitat necessary to identify the population size.
  2. Deforestation in the Tesso Nilo National Park to be kept to below 1,000 hectares per year.
[Wood and paper pulp]
  1. For companies to begin introducing the concept of zero deforestation in their procurement policies for wood, rather than thinking illegal logging as something normal.
  2. To continue making approaches to Indonesian paper manufacturers, of which procurement operation of raw materials has been deemed unsustainable by causing deforestation, through Japanese companies purchasing their products. In particular, strive to make progress in discussions between the problematic companies and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) with an aim of restoring severed relations.
  3. Primarily in Japan’s paper pulp market, to increase both demand and supply for products produced through sustainable means, such as FSC-certified products, through awareness raising.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
[Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park / Tesso Nilo National Park]
  1. Eighty cameras were installed within Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, and camera trap surveys were commenced.
  2. At Tesso Nilo National Park, annual deforestation was kept to about 177 hectares (568 hectares in the previous year), thanks to tree-planting and joint patrols with park authorities and local residents. Fruitful efforts are also underway to reduce potential deforestation causes, such as by promoting the sustainable use of forest resources and sustainable production on existing farms.
[Wood and paper pulp]
  1. Major home builders and timber trading companies began examining and negotiating to introduce the concept of zero deforestation into their procurement policies.
  2. Regarding the purchase of paper products from problematic paper manufacturers, it seems there was no significant change in behavior for both companies that buy the paper and companies that have stopped buying the paper. There was a slight decrease in the volume of copy paper imported directly from Indonesia into Japan.
  3. Demand for paper with “FSC certification”—evidence of a sustainable forest product—has grown rapidly in Japan, and is becoming more available. The number of FSC certified products is also increasing.
 

Forest conservation in the Mekong basin (Indochina Peninsula)

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • To stem deforestation and the associated ecological destruction in the Mekong basin, especially to the extent that derives from consumption in Japan.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
[Conservation activities in Myanmar and Thailand]
  1. For zero deforestation to be incorporated into Myanmar’s natural rubber bill.
  2. Tiger population in the central parts of Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand to be identified.
[Natural rubber]
  1. For a global platform for promoting the sustainable procurement of natural rubber to be established, and for discussions to commence on the formulation of standards.
  2. For the world’s leading users of natural rubber (tire manufacturers, etc.) to formulate policies for the sustainable procurement of natural rubber.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
[Conservation activities in Myanmar and Thailand]
  1. At the suggestion of WWF, zero deforestation policy was incorporated into Myanmar’s natural rubber bill. Furthermore, preparations for enforcement of the law are being carried out by Myanmar government authorities.
  2. One tiger was confirmed to inhabit the central parts of Kaeng Krachan National Park.
[Natural rubber]
  1. During the year ended June 30, 2019, the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) was launched. About 40 companies and NGOs are participating in the platform, which has begun operating in a way that is acceptable to WWF. WWF was selected as a member of the GPSNR Executive Committee—one of the decision-making groups of the organization.
  2. Four leading Japanese tire manufacturers and a trading company have formulated policies for the sustainable procurement of natural rubber, and are participating in GPSNR. Several other companies are also expected to participate in the future.
 

Forest conservation in the Russian Far East

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • To reduce the pressure on forests in the Russian Far East which is in part, driven by consumption of timber and other products in Japan, and to contribute to the conservation of local forests.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
[Protection of tigers and leopards]
  1. The population of Siberian tigers—the symbolic species sitting atop the forest ecosystem of the Russian Far East—shows signs of recovery toward the target of 600 individuals.
  2. Similarly, the population of Amur leopards—a symbolic species in the forests of the Russian Far East—shows signs of recovery toward the target of 80 individuals.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
[Protection of tigers and leopards]
  1. According to a continuing survey of selected sites, the Siberian tiger population is stable or increasing.
  2. A population of 91 adult and 22 juvenile Amur leopards was confirmed in the Land of the Leopard National Park, a park that was established in 2012 which WWF involved in its planning and implementation. The population size is recovering.


 

3.Marine and Fisheries Group: Work Plan and Progress Report

Overfishing and the excessive use of fishery resources are some of the biggest factors in the destruction of marine environments. In addition to support for sustainable fisheries as a measure against these, ongoing initiatives for marine conservation also include the promotion of measures against the expansion of distribution channels for seafood produced by these fisheries and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries. In recent years, given that aquaculture products now account for half of all marine products worldwide, efforts to make aquaculture sustainable are becoming particularly important.
In this regard, during the year ended June 30, 2019, we again promoted awareness of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification—international certification of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture that take the environment and resources into consideration—and we carried out activities promoting improvement projects aimed at making the fishing and aquaculture industry sustainable.
As for new initiatives, we also started activities centered on policy recommendations for marine plastic waste—an issue that has been similarly identified internationally as worsening in recent years.

Activities for improving governance in relation to marine conservation

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • Effective measures against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries to be established in Japan.
  • To realize management of tuna fishing in waters where consumption in Japan in particular has a high impact on resources and the marine environment.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. The Japanese government begins concrete discussion of anti-IUU measures.
  2. Catch documentation schemes (CDS, a system verifying the process from catch to sale) are introduced as a part of resource management system for bluefin tuna, where there is concern over its depletion. 
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. At the anti-IUU Forum, which was established by NGOs and companies working on IUU issues, we submitted a recommendation calling for a seafood traceability system to be legislated. A media study session was held for the purpose of increasing media attention for the IUU issues and influencing the tone of media articles on this issue. As a result, the Fisheries Agency indicated that a catch documentation scheme (CDS) would be put in place as a part of fisheries reforms. Furthermore, a member of the WWF Marine and Fisheries Group was appointed to the committee member for examining its legal framework.
  2. Round-table talks were held with participation of relevant personnel from the Fisheries Agency (national government) and the fisheries industry (market) to share the importance and usefulness of a CDS. This gave the good opportunity for introduction of a CDS, strategically paving the way for distribution of tuna without the excessive exploitation of its resources.
 

Conservation of coastal marine ecosystems

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • The sustainable production of marine resources linked to consumption in Japan is established, and marine ecosystems are conserved.
 
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
[Conservation of coastal areas in South America (Southern Cone)]
  1. Important habitats and threats for wildlife along the Chilean coast are identified, and a management plan for the Pitipalena-Añíhue Marine Protected Area in southern Chile is developed and implemented.
  2. 20% (by volume) of farmed salmon produced in Chile are ASC certified.
  3. Projects are launched toward sustainable fisheries in waters around the Southern Cone (South America) for Jumbo (Humboldt) squid and small pelagic fish used for feed in aquaculture.
[Southeast Asia (Coral Triangle)]
  1. The structure is in place so that farmers will be able to do Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) on their own in North Kalimantan on the island of Borneo for shrimp, which is exported to Japan, and the first ASC certification is achieved in South Sulawesi.
  2. Work plans are developed for the Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) and the Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) for Indonesian eel, which is exported to Japan.
  3. At least five marine tourism operators begin improving their own business for the purpose of reducing environmental impacts of tourism through working on them.
[Yellow Sea]
  1. The Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for Manila clam is completed in the Yalu River Estuary, a stopover site for many migratory birds.
  2. A nature reserve in the Nanpu Wetland (Luannan County, Tangshan City, Hebei Province), where a coastal environment remains largely unaffected by humans even along the coast of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea.
[Port of Shizugawa, Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture]
  1. Preliminary audit of ASC certification for silver salmon is proceeded
  2. Basic survey on Wakame seaweed for ASC certification is completed
  3. Methodology and indicators to evaluate biodiversity improvement by applying certification program is decided.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended on June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
[Conservation of coastal areas in South America (Southern Cone)]
  1. A draft management plan for the Pitipalena-Añíhue Maine Protected Area in southern Chile was developed for the first time with collaboration between local people, salmon companies and governments. In the course of discussions, stakeholders’ understanding of the importance of the area and motivation for conservation improved, as well as their relationship was built. Furthermore, we implemented a survey of the rare species, Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia), on Chiloé Island in southern Chile. We identified their main habitats and clarified that they are affected by the fishery and aquaculture industries in the surrounding area.
  2. The percentage of ASC certified salmon produced in Chile reached 20% (by volume). The first ASC certification was achieved in Chile in 2014. Since then, the number of ASC certified salmon farms has continued to increase, and it has promoted the reduction of the impact on wildlife and the natural environment as well as the consideration for local people and indigenous people. Thus, steady progress toward resolving issues faced by Chile’s salmon aquaculture industry has been observed.
  3. We began a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in Peru for Humboldt squid, which is imported in great volumes to Japan. As a measure against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries, which is a considerable problem in South America, we will work on introducing an electronic catch documentation system to Jumbo (Humboldt) squid fishers.
[Southeast Asia (Coral Triangle)]
  1. In North Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, there was an increase in the number of shrimp ponds involved in Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP). Furthermore, through trainings for the shrimp farmers’ union, we supported the development of structure so that the farmers will be able to work on sustainable farming on their own in the future.
    Progress was also made in the AIP for shrimp in South Sulawesi. ASC audit is expected to be conducted in the year ended on June 30, 2020.
  2. We developed work plans for a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for glass eel based on the MSC fisheries standard and for an Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) for farmed eel based on existing ASC standards. Through this, we will work on increasing the interest levels of companies, fishers, governments and researchers in eel conservation, and building the collaboration among them.
  3. Signing Blue is a marine tourism improvement program designed to transform marine tourism into a responsible industry that is considerate of the natural environment and people. The number of marine tourism operators participating in the program increased above 100. Five of these businesses formulated a work plan aimed at improving operations.
[Yellow Sea]
  1. The Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for Manila clam in the Yalu River Estuary was completed. The MSC full assessment of Manila clam is expected to be conducted in the year ended on June 30, 2020. Through the FIP, the understanding of sustainable production of marine products was promoted among companies, government and researchers, and their willingness to improve the fishery was demonstrated. It is also expected to lead to improvements in Manila clam fisheries in various parts of China.
  2. We implemented a basic survey of migratory birds necessary to establish a nature reserve in the Nanpu Wetland (Luannan County, Tangshan City, Hebei Province). Findings of the survey showed that the Nanpu Wetland deserves to be registered as a site under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands because 100,000 birds fly to the Nanpu Wetland and many water birds rely on it, especially shorebirds such as the curlew sandpiper and the red knot. We will continue to work on government officials for the establishment of a nature reserve.
[Port of Shizugawa, Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture]
  1. In order to raise understanding of the head office of Miyagi fishery cooperative, which is a barrier to the preliminary audit for ASC certification, we decided to hold a roundtable to share the situation and challenges on ASC certification for salmon in Japan and overseas with ASC and Seafood Legacy in October 2019.
  2. The preliminary audit for Wakame was conducted, and issues for ASC certification were identified. Since producers do not reach a consensus yet, we will carefully judge whether it will be expected to work well.
  3. We finalized concept and content of a report to evaluate biodiversity through ASC certificate and started the report making.
 

Promotion of sustainable fisheries

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For ASC certification, which is an international certification for sustainable fishery products, to be applied for major aquaculture products in Japan, and for leading companies to adopt the ASC in their seafood sourcing policy.
 
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. Challenges for ACS certification are improved by individual farmer or aquaculture company.
  2. At least 15 Japanese BtoC companies introduced MSC/ASC certified products.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. The Azuma-cho Fishery Cooperative in Kagoshima Prefecture, which is one of the largest producers of amberjacks in Japan, acquired ASC certification, bringing the total number of certified aquaculture farms in Japan to four. In addition, one producer began detailed discussions towards AIP. WWF supported JSI to verify the safety of fishery pesticide highly relating with growth of ASC certification for amberjacks. This action contributed to build JSI’s capacity for collaborative framework and the collective bargaining capability.
  2. The number of companies offering certified marine products has been steadily increasing, including JXTG Holdings, Inc. which began offering sustainable seafood at its employee cafeterias in March.
 

Responding to the ocean plastics problem

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For the perspectives of measures required by WWF, in particular, the reduction of single-use plastics predominately used in packaging and containers, to be incorporated by the national government and certain companies into their measures for marine plastic wastes.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. To establish WWF’s strategy and to start to raise issues aimed at resolving the marine plastic pollution.
  2. For the perspectives of initiatives emphasized by WWF to be incorporated into Japan’s policies dealing with the problem of marine plastic wastes.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. Starting in the year ended June 30, 2019, we formulated the WWF Japan strategy for resolving the ocean plastics problem. In cooperation with overseas WWF offices, we also established a foundation for activities.
    Furthermore, we also made approaches to companies that use plastics, and we raised issues in cooperation with other organizations actively tackling this issue in Japan.
  2. In collaboration with other organizations, we submitted policy recommendations to Japan’s Ministry of the Environment and to the foreign minister. In addition, by collaborating with other WWF networks, at the G20 Osaka Summit, WWF’s goal of “reducing additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero” was included in the joint declaration of an international conference for the first time.


 

4.TRAFFIC Group: Work Plan and Progress Report

TRAFFIC, which operates as WWF Japan’s wildlife trade monitoring unit, continues to investigate and make recommendations on trade in ivory, which still presents many problems in Japan. Recent studies in particular have revealed that it was not the illegal smuggling of ivory into Japan which was the issue, but instead it was the substantial amount of ivory being illegally exported from Japan to foreign countries (mostly China) and the fact that Japan’s current legal system does not provide adequate regulation. During the year ended June 30, 2019, TRAFFIC again focused on providing recommendations for policy improvement and on disseminating information on these points based on the findings of studies.
TRAFFIC also conducted studies and made recommendations regarding: the domestic trade of exotic pets, which makes use of rare wild animals from overseas and is similarly poorly regulated under domestic legislations; and the illegal trade of rare Japanese species taken out of Japan to foreign countries. We believe each case presents a distinct matter of Japan’s responsibility for conservation of the world’s wildlife.
 

Initiatives for ivory

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For a significant reduction in the illegal export of ivory from Japan to China.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For awareness-raising to be conducted at customs and in the travel industry about bringing ivory out from Japan.
  2. For the Japanese government to begin considering legal reform to combat the illegal ivory trade.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. We held an event at Haneda Airport and a workshop together with All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., securing the cooperation of customs at each; in particular, the Tokyo Customs’ awareness for strengthening efforts against the illegal wildlife trade was enhanced.
  2. We actively disseminated information on issues to travelers and the general public via offline events and online activities and also submitted recommendations to the government. Consequently, the issues achieved greater exposure and increased attention and priority by the relevant ministries and agencies. The issues were also taken up by the Diet, and we were able to encourage policies to be reviewed further.
 

Initiatives for pet trading

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For the Japanese pet industry to see the precedents where traceability and legality checks of transactions are being carried out as a matter of course.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For the survey on the small-clawed otter trade to be completed, and for public opinion to be aroused.
  2. For relevant business operators to have greater awareness regarding the traceability and legality checks of individual animals being sold as pets.
  3. For the media to recognize the required attitude toward broadcasting/communicating wildlife contents.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. Taking advantage of the release of the report on the Small-clawed Otter trade, issues of smuggling and demand for pets featured heavily in leading media outlets, including NHK and commercial TV broadcasters, which resulted in social interest on this issue to grow.
  2. Triggered by the awakening of public opinion, business operators too began to become increasingly aware of the need for legality checks when selling pets.
  3. Through responding to media interviews, many cases were confirmed where the problem of trading wild animals as pets was reported correctly. Problems of keeping wild animals as pets also featured more frequently than before in the media.
 

Collaboration with companies

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For measures combating the trafficking of wildlife to be promoted by internet/social platforms and in the travel and transport industry.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For further companies to independently come out with measures to combating wildlife trafficking.
  2. For internet platforms in Japan to consider participating in international alliances tackling the issue of wildlife trafficking.
  3. For major online platforms to begin to consider introducing a voluntary ban of ivory trade.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. We held a workshop on wildlife trafficking for employees at All Nippon Airways. This was a first of its kind in Japan’s transport industry and has led to combating the wildlife trafficking being incorporated into the core of the company’s efforts.
  2. Following further dialogue with major internet platform companies, efforts have begun for strengthening cooperation among companies in Japan, with a view to participating in global alliances. Some companies participated in global gatherings of major internet/social platform companies and having gained knowledge on international trends and on other companies’ efforts in eradicating illegal wildlife trade, became increasingly aware of their own responsibility in resolving issues.
  3. Further dialogue with companies that have major online platforms for ivory trading facilitated their internal reviews to proceed.
 

Support for the development of adequate legal systems and law enforcement in Japan

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For Act on Welfare and Management of Animals, The Law on Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and other relevant laws to be enhanced, and for species subject to trade restrictions (e.g. lizards, turtles and otters that are in demand as pets; ivory products) be properly managed.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For law enforcement by the police and customs to be strengthened.
  2. For stronger management of trade in wildlife be included in the revision of Act on Welfare and Management of Animals.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. We delivered two CITES training sessions for customs officers. In addition to deepening their practical knowledge, the officers increased their awareness about the illegal wildlife trade.
  2. Ahead of the revision to Act on Welfare and Management of Animals, we provided Diet members and ministry and agency officials with information on the problem of wild animals being illegally traded as pets. As a result, in the supplementary resolutions to the proposed amendment, a sentence “appropriate standards for the care and management of wild animals would be examined” was included.
 

CITES advocacy

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For Japan to participate in the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process, and for ivory to be properly managed.
  • For species indicated as declining in population and other rare species in Japan, including species endemic to the Nansei Islands, to be listed in the Appendices of species regulated under the convention.
 
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For Japan to participate in the NIAP process.
  2. For the Japanese government to begin considering measures for eels.
  3. For consideration to be given to listing endemic species to Japan in the CITES Appendices.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. Regarding participation in NIAP, since Japan was not included in considerations during the CITES process, we shifted the focus of activities to improving domestic policies related to ivory trade. As a result, there was an increase in calls for the government to take action, including parliamentary questions on ivory being asked in the Diet by members from both the ruling and opposition parties.
  2. We participated in international meetings of CITES and regional resource management policies, and through providing information on trading trends, we supported the Japanese government in recognizing the need for initiatives in the East Asian region. Efforts in Japan and the region for better resource management and stronger traceability systems are developing slowly.
  3. We held dialogues with relevant ministries and agencies and submitted an official letter of request, in response to which the Japanese government decided to list the endemic species of Japan on Appendix III of CITES. We successfully urged the government to commit to introducing regulations on international trade, whereby contributing to strengthening policies to prevent species from being taken illegally out of Japan.
    This will result in illegal export measures being strengthened for the conservation of six species of the genus Goniurosaurus and the Anderson’s crocodile newt (Echinotriton andersoni), endemic to Nansei Islands Japan.


 

5.Domestic Group: Work Plan and Progress Report

During the year ended June 30, 2019, as central pillars of our Medium-Term Plan, we focused on the preservation of “rice field” landscapes—one of the archetypal images of Japan—and on the conservation of their biodiversity, as well as on protecting the natural environment on the Nansei Islands, which are the life work for WWF Japan, and which are rated highly both domestically and internationally for the richness and diversity of their nature. We also put effort into making policy recommendations and reaching out to members of the Diet in order to improve and promote Japan’s national nature conservation administration.
Regarding the conservation of rice fields, steady progress has been made in collaboration and cooperation with local farmers and local governments, who are essential stakeholders for implementing the conservation, as well as in nature watching groups and in model community development aimed at symbiosis between nature and agriculture.
Regarding the Nansei Islands, in cooperation with local stakeholders, we conducted various initiatives on islands such as Amami, Ishigaki, Kikai, Yoron and Miyako, including for measures against invasive species, the conservation of coral reefs, the protection of rare species and the impact of tourism on the environment.
 

Conservation of biodiversity on the Nansei Islands

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
[Land]
  • For a community-led implementation system to be established for conservation of endemic species on the Nansei Islands (Amami rabbit and Miyako grass lizard).
[Sea]
  • For the “Shiraho Model” aimed at the community-led protection of sea environments continue to be carried out, and extended to other parts of the Nansei Islands, such as Kikaijima and Yoronjima.
  • To build a certification program designed to improve business activities that have a negative impact on coral reef ecosystems, for the purpose of conserving the coral reef ecosystem in the Sekisei Lagoon.
 
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
[Land]
  1. For the several local governments on Amami Oshima to begin thinking about measures against invasive species, such as cats, that are threatening the Amami rabbit and other native rare species.
  2. For the certification program for eco-tour guides in Amami Oshima be improved.
  3. For there to be a change in the awareness of local residents on Miyakojima who are less interested in land ecosystems, and for initiatives popularizing the Miyako grass lizard and its worth to begin.
[Sea]
  1. For the hidden coral reef culture to be unearthed and listed in the four villages on Kikaijima, and for connections to be developed between community life and coral reef ecosystems.
  2. For light to be shed on the true state of operations management at livestock farms, composting centers and other places which are sources of eutrophication substances flowing into waters around Yoronjima, as well as on the routes of inflow from land into the sea.
  3. For draft rules and a governing structure to be developed on the sustainable use of the busy tourist beach of Yonehara on Ishigaki Island.
  4. In order to establish a certification program of coral-friendly tourism operators, for the relevant areas of business to be clarified, and for a strategy to be completed for building the program based on information collected from relevant stakeholders.
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
[Land]
  1. Local governments, including Amami City, and local conservation groups worked together in planning an event to promote good cats breeding to be properly kept. In addition, at five municipalities on the island, including Amami City and Tatsugo Town, further amendments were made to bylaws for appropriate cat management, and sterilization and castration programs are ongoing.
  2. Based on the written request submitted by WWF Japan for improvements to the eco-tour guide certification program, meetings and interviews were held with the Kagoshima Prefectural Government’s Nature Conservation Division and the Amami-Oshima Island Eco-Tour Guide Liaison Council. As a result, a policy was established to build a practical model district for best-practice ecotourism in the island and to extend this to other regions.
  3. In Miyakojima City, the Miyako grass lizard was adopted as the design for a local community currency. In addition, a fact-finding survey was undertaken by students from Miyako High School interviewing elderly residents about the Miyako grass lizard. Targets relating to measures against invasive species threatening the Miyako grass lizard were also incorporated into the city’s environment policy.
[Sea]
  1. We created a list of coral reef culture resources in Shitooke, Somachi, Araki and Kamikatetsu on Kikaijima. Important resources were clarified, such as air-raid shelters formed using the terrace structure of coral reefs and tubs made of coral stone. Based on this, we solidified the foundation for coral reef conservation to be tackled by the island.
  2. We investigated the flow of eutrophication substances from the land into the sea on Yoronjima. As a result of that, the need for specific measures is to be included in the next comprehensive plan for Yoronjima.
  3. Proposed rules on the use of tourism resources were put together, based on discussions with relevant local government officials from Okinawa Prefecture and Ishigaki City. There are unresolved issues regarding construction of the governance structure, but efforts led by the Ministry of the Environment are continuing.
  4. Tourism was set as the area of business to be examined by WWF. We conducted interviews with stakeholders, cosponsored forums, and participated in various training sessions. In addition to continuing efforts for the certification program, the scope will be broadened to problems caused by tourism on the island environment.
 

Conservation of rice field ecosystems

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • To carry out a study in the rice field belt of northwestern Kyushu where rare freshwater fish are distributed, and based on the results of this, to select areas for priority conservation.
  • Based on the results of the selection, to establish a symbiotic model of agriculture and biodiversity.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For a map of priority conservation areas to be completed.
  2. Working together with local people, for the direction of agriculture coexisting with nature to be set.
  3. For model conservation projects to commence in two regions.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. While receiving information from the prefectural governments of Saga, Fukuoka and Kumamoto, we began creating a booklet that packages together maps with methods of preparing farmland which are necessary for caring for the environment. Taking this opportunity, dialogue between the nature conservation departments and the farmland development departments began at each prefecture, and preparations began to be made for necessary discussions for the conservation of rare fish in rice fields that are at risk of extinction.
  2. At Higashiyoka-cho in Saga Prefecture, which is a candidate area for the conservation model, while incorporating and sharing the wishes and challenges of the local people, nature observation and other events were held allowing children in the community to get up close to local living creatures. Furthermore, we were also able to receive proposals of voluntary initiatives from local farmers.
  3. At Saga City in Saga Prefecture and at Tamana City in Kumamoto Prefecture, model conservation projects were started. Going forward, while securing the understanding of local communities, we will continue efforts balancing both actual agriculture and conservation of nature in line with the model concepts.
 

Improving Japan’s legal system related to conservation of nature

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For new endangered species of wild fauna and flora specified in the Law for the Conservation of the Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (LCES)to be proposed and designated.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. For species, which were revealed to be at risk of extinction in the rice fields project, to be proposed for designation as endangered species of wild fauna and flora under LCES, and for them to be so designated.
  2. For legal system issues to be discussed as part of Diet deliberations in 2019 and to affect the content of amendments.
 
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. Based on the program calling for submission of proposed endangered species of wild fauna and flora in Japan, which became operative under LCES in June 2018 following approaches made by WWF Japan, we made proposals for designation for five species of reptiles on the Nansei Islands. Deliberative council meetings are yet to be held, so at this stage, it is unclear whether or not they will be designated. However, how species are designated by the Scientific Committee was called into question.
  2. We submitted written questions through Diet members from both the ruling and opposition parties concerning the conservation of endangered wild fauna and flora, the deterrence of illegal importation, and the selection of endangered species of wild fauna and flora in Japan. As a result, it became clear that the framework of the Scientific Committee necessary for legally regulating endangered wild fauna and flora has not been adequately developed.
 

One Planet Lifestyle (reducing the impact of consumption on the environment)

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • For the concept of keeping ecological footprint (environmental impact) within the productive capacity of one planet to be adopted in local government policies in Japan and to be reflected in projects.
Key goals for the year ended June 30, 2019:
  1. To urge local governments to promote “One Planet Lifestyle,” using the “ecological footprint” environmental indicator. To prepare materials for this, and to make proposals to five local governments.
  2. To work on disseminating the WWF network’s “Living Planet Report 2018” in Japan.
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
  1. We proposed the “One Planet Lifestyle” concept and implementation measures to administrative officials and city council members in Yokohama City, Kunitachi City and Chofu City. Although no local governments have yet incorporated the concept into their policies, we are continuing our approaches in collaboration with local NGOs for the concept to be introduced into local policies.
  2. We prepared the Japanese translation of “Living Planet Report 2018.” We also held briefing sessions for WWF Japan personnel and shared presentation materials for various actors. In collaboration with the WWF Japan Corporate Group, seminars were also held to introduce the report to corporate members. Information on the report was also presented at a training seminar organized by the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
 

Responding to urgent matters

Key goals in the Medium-Term Plan (by 2021):
  • To contribute to the conservation of important biodiversity in Japan.
Progress of activities in the year ended June 30, 2019, and changes brought about:
Conservation of the endangered kissing loach, a species endemic to Japan

 

The kissing loach is a freshwater fish distributed only in two locations in the Japanese prefectures of Kyoto and Okayama. There is global concern about this fish becoming extinct. We participated in two meetings to exchange views on a development project being carried out near the kissing loach’s remaining habitat in Kameoka City, Kyoto Prefecture. The meetings were attended by the Ministry of the Environment, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the local governments of Kyoto Prefecture and Kameoka City, nature conservation groups and scientists. Regarding measures for habitat protection, we proposed securing a spawning ground for the kissing loach, and we suggested examining the direction of development by involving the prefecture’s agricultural administration bureau, the city government and local residents. On the basis of these proposals, an outline of measures was pulled together by the relevant parties, and progress was seen in protection of the habitat.

Review of plan for large cruise ships to dock on Amami Oshima

In February 2019, a plan came to light for development of a dock for large cruise ships in the Nishikomi district of Setouchi Town on the island of Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture. In response, WWF carried out rapid assessment of the marine environment. As well as confirming an important coral community, findings by Kagoshima University also showed that the endemic species of white-spotted pufferfish inhabited the waters. On this basis, we renewed our request to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Ministry of the Environment, Kagoshima Prefecture and the local Setouchi Town government for the waters to be protected. On putting our request to Naruhito Kamada, the mayor of Setouchi Town during a face-to-face interview with him, he confirmed his intent for the town to protect the natural environment that is the pride of the region, and to promote endeavors which respect the will of residents. Ultimately, Setouchi Town announced the development plan would be abandoned, saying that it was not possible to gain the understanding in the circumstances of opposition voices by residents and local conservation groups.

Response to development of a resort hotel in Shiraho, Ishigaki Island

The coastal area of Shiraho on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture is home to one of the world’s largest communities of blue coral. In response to announcement of a plan to construct a resort hotel in the district fronting these waters, in September 2018, a group of local residents instituted proceedings calling for the hotel construction to be halted. While respecting such a view to protect coral reefs and preserve the local landscape, WWF Japan delivered a protest statement to the governor of Okinawa Prefecture and the mayor of Ishigaki City, pointing to the potential for the coral reef ecosystem to be adversely affected by effluent from the hotel, and strongly urging them to withdraw permission for the development. Apart from this issue of the resort hotel development in Shiraho, we have begun collecting information and preparing to investigate the growing impact of tourism.

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