Nature & Parks

Nature Conservation in Japan -Preface

[Policies & Programs] Nature Conservation in Japan


The Environment Agency, since its establishment in 1971, has been focusing on conservation of natural environment as one of its major tasks. The Nature Conservation Bureau is responsible for this task including conservation of fauna and flora, ecosystems and scenic landscape. The Bureau is carrying out the task through management of National Parks and other protected areas throughout the country, monitoring activities such as the National Survey on the Natural Environment, protection of the endangered species and so on.

It is said that Japan has rich biological diversity compared with countries of similar size and latitude, since Japanese archipelago is mountainous and surrounded by the sea, stretching for several thousands of kilometers from subarctic zone to subtropical zone. However, during the period of rapid economic expansion after World War II, in particular in the 1960s-1970s, the natural environment became degraded. To resolve this problem, the Bureau has made various efforts including enactments of new laws, and has produced considerable results for appropriate land use. Today, main areas of concern have shifted to the quality of natural environment, survival of species, conservation of rural areas, restoration of nearby natural environment and promotion of contact with nature. The Bureau has already launched a number of programs to cope with these issues.

In order to change our society to a sustainable one, the Government of Japan enacted the Basic Environment Law in 1993, and the Basic Environment Plan was established in 1994 under the law. The plan states "the harmonious coexistence between nature and human beings" is one of its major objects. Towards this object, various activities for biological diversity conservation, management of protected areas and a variety of other efforts are being promoted actively.

It is the obligation of the present generation to pass a well-conserved natural environment on to the future generations. The Bureau shall continue to address this universal goal both domestically and internationally.

This booklet, Nature Conservation in Japan, has been compiled for the purpose of introducing, in a concise manner, the policies and activities of the Bureau on conservation and management of the natural environment including wildlife, with revisions to previous editions of this booklet.

Through this booklet, we sincerely hope that readers will come to know the present state and future prospects for Japan's nature conservation efforts and that our knowledge and experiences will contribute to promoting international cooperation in this field.

October 1995

Director General
Nature Conservation Bureau
the Environment Agency

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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