Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 15

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21

Chapter 15 CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

A) Management-Related Activities

Japan is rich in biological diversity mainly due to its climate ranging from sub-boreal to sub-tropical zone, and has thus far been taking various kinds of measures for conservation, based on a legislative system for the conservation of the natural environment. Furthermore, giving due consideration to the Basic Environment Law which was established in November 1993, Japan will promote, in a comprehensive and well-planned manner, the below-mentioned measures in particular, from the perspective of conserving biological diversity.

(1)
Japan will establish strategy, plans, etc. on a national level, which contribute to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and will make improvements in their details. Japan will continue to make efforts to ensure the integration of conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into various national plans.
(2)
Giving due consideration to the Basic Policy for Conservation of the Natural Environment, etc., Japan will systematically conserve diverse nature on the national land.
(3)
Through the National Survey on the Natural Environment, Japan will continue to gain a nationwide understanding of the present state and transition of diverse ecosystems such as forests, rivers, wetlands, coastal areas, etc., as well as wildlife. It will also continue to promote the collection and improvement of basic data, through such means as the selection and monitoring of superb ecosystems, including representative and typical ones, and through the monitoring of endangered species.
(4)
In order to conserve diverse ecosystems, important habitats for wildlife, etc., Japan will promote the designation of a variety of protected areas, including nature conservation areas, national and quasi national parks, protected areas for the purpose of protecting endangered species of wild fauna and flora, wildlife reserves, natural monuments, protected forests, protected forests in national forests, and water areas designated for the purpose of protecting aquatic resources. Japan will also reinforce conservation of existing designated areas, through appropriate management in accordance with the designation objectives and the natural features of these areas.
(5)
In order to conserve biological diversity, including endangered species of wild fauna and flora, as well as to protect wildlife which is important for the sustainable use of biological resources, Japan will adopt regulatory measures on the capturing and transacting of wildlife, based on the Law for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Wildlife Protection Law, the Aquatic Resources Protection Law, and the Law for the Protection of Cultural Property, etc. In addition, Japan will promote the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of forests, through proper management and operation based on the Forest Planning Systems, etc.
(6)
Japan will make efforts to protect species of wild fauna and flora that make up diverse ecosystems, in particular protection and breeding projects for the purpose of breeding endangered species and maintaining their habitats, as well as the restoration of precious vegetation. Japan will also promote projects for the rehabilitation and restoration of ecosystems, including the improvement of the environment of forests, watersheds, etc., which can serve as habits for diverse forms of life. It will also promote projects for the "gene bank," etc., which are for the ex situ conservation of the components of biological diversity.
(7)
As regards the operation of various kinds of projects, Japan will adopt necessary measures, which ensure that due consideration has been given for the sake of avoiding adverse effects on biological diversity and of minimizing such effects, including appropriately conducting environmental impact assessment, based on the Outline decided by a Cabinet decision as well as on individual laws.
(8)
Japan will encourage and assist the conservation of biological diversity, through such means as devising favorable tax measures for protected areas, including nature conservation areas, protected forests, favorable tax measures for nonprofit foundations whose purpose is to conserve the natural environment, and a system of a variety of commendations. As for national and quasi-national parks and national wildlife protection areas, Japan will promote public ownership of protected areas through the private land purchase system.

15-B) Data and Information

In accordance with a variety of surveys and research, including the National Survey on the Natural Environment, Japan is collecting, accumulating, evaluating and updating information concerning the present conditions and transition in ecosystems, species and populations throughout Japan, and taking into account the fact that it is essential to collect and improve basic data to adopt various conservation measures, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
In addition to updating actual vegetation maps (scale of 1:50.000) of the national land, and assessing plant communities, Japan will continue to conduct the selection and monitoring of important plant communities. Japan will also promote the accumulation and updating of information concerning the present state and transition in ecosystems such as forests, rivers, marshes, lakes, tidelands and coral reefs.
(2)
Japan will collect and accumulate information on ecosystems that have not thus far been the subject of such surveys, including those in wetlands and shallow ocean areas, and will develop new collection methods for this purpose.
(3)
After having produced an inventory of major taxa of vertebrates, Japan will continue to conduct distribution surveys for each species covered in the inventory, while making efforts to improve the contents. In particular, Japan has conducted the "Distribution Survey on Popular and Familiar Plants and Animals," on those species often seen around residential areas throughout Japan, with the cooperation of more than 100,000 citizens, and Japan will continue to conduct activities with the cooperation of a large number of volunteers.
(4)
Japan will continuously conduct ongoing surveys for the purpose of gaining a comprehensive understanding of information on plants, animals and soil, and clarifying the mechanisms of change in ecosystems.
(5)
Japan will continue to conduct surveys on population sizes of wild geese and wild ducks, surveys at specific points, and marking surveys, all of which have been continuously conducted for the purpose of collecting and accumulating basic data on the movements of migratory birds.
(6)
Giving due consideration to the trends of living conditions, Japan will revise and improve a list of endangered species which was drawn up based on the standards of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), using data from the National Survey on the Natural Environment, and will continue to conduct the monitoring of distribution and living conditions of animals and plants which have been clarified in the process of drawing up this list.
(7)
Japan will continue to conduct monitoring surveys currently underway in nature conservation areas in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the present conditions and changes of ecosystems that are vested with primeval forms of nature and are extremely important for the conservation of biological diversity.
(8)
Japan has been collecting information in each water area on aquatic life forms other than those species covered by the above-mentioned surveys, and will continue to promote the development of methods for ascertaining the state of aquatic ecosystems.
(9)
Japan will accumulate and update information about forests, conducting various kinds of surveys, those that have been conducted on the occasion of establishing of forest plans.
(10)
Japan will collect information on rivers with the cooperation of monitors for river environment conservation.

15-C) International and Regional Cooperation and Coordination

In order to prevent the extinction of species on the earth, and to promote their sustainable use, acknowledging the importance of handing down to posterity the world of abundant biological diversity, Japan signed the Convention on Biological Diversity at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and concluded it in May 1993. Japan intends to contribute to the functions of this convention as an effective international framework.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Japan has joined the Washington Convention, the Ramsar Convention and the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, all of which are related to the conservation of biological diversity. As regards to the Washington Convention and the Ramsar Convention, Japan has invited and hosted the Conferences of Contracting Parties. Thus, Japan has been making efforts to promote the implementation of those conventions and is determined to continue to implement them steadfastly. Japan is also cooperating in the Man and the Biosphere Program, UNESCO, which is conducted as an intergovernmental project. Japan will continue to support this program.
(2)
Having concluded bilateral treaties concerning the protection of migratory birds with the United States, Australia, China and Russia, Japan has been conducting exchange of information, joint-research, etc. on this matter, and it will enhance the activities in this field through concluding treaties with other countries, etc.
(3)
Japan is promoting cooperation in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, through such means as Official Development Assistance, including technical cooperation and financial cooperation, and the Global Environment Research Program Budget. Japan intends to maintain the assistance to developing countries, utilizing the technology and experience it has accumulated through the National Survey on the Natural Environment, while making substantial improvements of its assistance. In order to realize sustainable development in developing countries in particular, Japan will make efforts to promote the conservation of biological diversity which is compatible with regional economic and social development, and for this purpose it will promote international contribution in this field, including the improvement of institutions, organizations and fostering human resources, the improvement of basic information regarding biological diversity, and conducting model projects for the conservation of biological diversity and research cooperation with developing countries.
(4)
In addition to having invited an annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, Japan is conducting research on minke whaling in the Antarctic Ocean. Japan is determined to make positive contributions to the conservation of biological diversity, including those for sustainable use.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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