National Report of Japan for COP7

26/12/1998

National Report prepared for the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

 Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in general, and of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002 in particular, during the period since the National Report was prepared in 1995 for Ramsar COP6

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Contracting Party Japan
Designated Ramsar Administrative Authority  
Full name of the institution Wildlife Protection Division, Nature Conservation Bureau, Environment Agency
Name and title of the head of the institution Director
Mailing address for the head of the institution Kasumigaseki 1-2-2, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8975, Japan
Telephone +81 3 5521 8284
Fax +81 3 3581 7090
E-mail wildlife@eanet.go.jp
Name and title (if different) of the designated contact officer for Ramsar Convention matters Hideyuki Chiba
Mailing address (if different) for the designated contact officer Permanent Mission of Japan, 3 chemin des Fins, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Genève, Switzerland
Telephone +41 22 717 3111
Fax +41 22 788 3811
E-mail hideyuki.chiba@mofa.go.jp

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 1
To progress towards universal membership of the Convention.

1.1 Describe any actions your government has taken (such as hosting regional or subregional meetings/consultations, working cooperatively with neighbouring countries on transfrontier wetland sites) to encourage others to join the Convention.

Japan hosted a workshop on the wise use of wetlands and bird-banding survey techniques in Vietnam, Australia, and Thailand and transferred know-how to facilitate the designation of wetlands for inclusion in the List of International Importance of the Convention.

Japan conducted joint wetland research with the wetland conservation authorities of Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, and Myanmar to promote ratification of the Convention and designation of wetlands.

Japan provided financial support to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and the Philippines to enable them to attend the 6th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention to promote their ratification of the Convention.

The importance of joining the Convention has been included in the curriculum of the Wetland Conservation and Protection of the Migratory Birds special training course, and Nature Protection Management and Coral Reef Conservation training courses offered by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).

Japan hosted a workshop on the conservation of wetlands and migratory waterfowl in cooperation with Mongolia and promoted ratificattion of the Convention.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 2
To achieve the wise use of wetlands by implementing and further developing the Ramsar Wise Use Guidelines.

2.1 Has a National Wetland Policy/Strategy/Action Plan been developed, or is one being developed or planned for the near future?

We have developed a National Strategy on Biological Diversity (NSBD) based on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) containing our policies regarding wetlands.

a. What are/will be its main features?

Measures will be developed to set aside protected areas with the aim of maintaining features of wetland ecosystems.

Efforts will be made to register important wetlands on a global scale as habitats for migratory birds under the Convention, and to properly manage such wetlands.

Efforts will be made to properly conserve ecosystems and natural habitats such as wetlands.

Efforts will be promoted to conserve wetlands in the country and abroad for implementation of the Convention.

b. Was it, or is it, intended that the Policy/Strategy/Action Plan be adopted by the whole of Government, the Minister responsible for Ramsar matters or through some other process. Please describe.

The NSBD, including the conservation of wetlands, is adopted by the national government as a whole. This national strategy was drafted by the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee to the CBD. A public hearing was held, and after necessary revisions, the Council of Ministers for Global Environment Conservation confirmed the NSBD.

c. How does it relate/will it relate to other national environmental/ conservation planning initiatives (e.g., National Environmental Action Plans, National Biodiversity Action Plans, National Conservation Strategies)?

The NSBD on the environment will be implemented in line with the Basic Environment Plan for which cabinet reports are issued. Plans and guides such as the "Basic Policy for Natural Environment Conservation," which are closely related to the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use, as far as the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use is concerned, will be implemented according to, and in coordination with, the NSBD.

2.2 If a policy is in place, how much progress has been made in its implementation, and what are the major difficulties being encountered in doing so?

- Progress status:

Specific policies in line with the NSBD are being implemented by individual ministries and agencies, and progress is reviewed annually. The main progress in wetland conservation policies initiated since the NSBD was defined is as given in response to questions such as 2.5, 3.1.

- Difficult points:

It is difficult to achieve consensus on establishing protection areas to conserve wetlands due to the problem of coordinating land use.

2.3 If a Policy/Strategy/Action Plan is in place, is the responsibility for implementing it with :

a. a single Government Ministry,
b. a committee drawn from several Ministries, or
c. a cross-sectoral committee?

Actual policies based on the NSBD are implemented by the relevant ministries. The Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee of the CBD coordinates and reviews the policies of the various ministries and agencies.

2.4 For countries with Federal systems of Government, are there Wetland Policies/Strategies/Plans in place, being developed or planned for the provincial/state or regional levels of Government? Yes/No   If yes, please give details.

Not applicable.

2.5 Has a review of legislation and practices which impact on wetlands been carried out, and if so, has this resulted in any changes which assist with implementation of the Ramsar Convention? Please describe these.

In 1997, we strengthened the environmental impact assessment system by passing the Environmental Impact Assessment Law requiring environmental impact assessments to be conducted for large-scale development projects.

In the Comprehensive National Development Plan based on cabinet decision in 1998, clauses requiring reference to the Ramsar Convention on conserving the natural environment and promoting international cooperation in conserving wetlands were included.

The River Law was amended in 1997 to include in its purpose, not only irrigation and water use but also maintenance and conservation of the river environment.

2.6 Describe the efforts made in your country to have wetlands considered in integrated land/water and coastal zone planning and management processes at the following levels:

a. national

Through compiling Inventory of Shorebird Staging Wetlands and conducting a national survey on the natural environment (kelp coasts, tideflats, and coral reef surveys/marine organism environment survey and the like), information needed to assess the current status and annual changes in the major stop-over points of migratory birds and tidelands is obtained and stocked.

In river management, the Master Plan for River Environment Management was set up and other measures such as zoning were taken in areas where valuable natural habitats remain.

When planning development related to wetlands and granting licenses for such business, appropriate coordination between Ministry implementing the enterprise and the Environment Agency (EA.) is undertaken from the point of view of wetland conservation.

b. provincial

State or prefecture

In Shiga Prefecture, widespread efforts are being made to conserve wetlands under the Basic Environment Ordinance, the Reed Colony Conservation Ordinance, the Ordinance on the Prevention of Eutrophication of Biwa-ko, and the Ordinance to Protect and Nourish the Spiritual Home, Shiga.

In Hokkaido, the Hokkaido Wetlands Conservation Master Plan which sets out the basic policy for wetlands conservation was adopted in 1994. Based on this master plan, plans for conserving those wetlands that require specific comprehensive policies are drawn up with the assistance of the relevant organizations and groups. Information is exchanged and know-how is shared.

c. local

In Niigata City, for drawing up and implementing projects related to wetland development, coordination is done between the enterprise implementation bureau and the environment bureau for wetlands conservation.

In the Kushiro region, the Kushiro International Wetland Center, which consists of relevant local government entities and other groups in the Kushiro district, was set up in 1995. The center is active in various areas of wise use and conservation of wet land, hosts conferences, and conducts surveys and research.

2.7 Have there been any publications produced, or practices documented, which could assist other countries to promote and improve the application of the Ramsar Wise Use of Wetlands Guidelines? Yes/No   If Yes, please provide details and copies.

Yes.

- Environmental education video "Wet Wonderland" on the wise use of wetlands (1996, EA).

- JICA special training course text on wetland conservation and protection of migratory birds (1994, JICA. Revised annually).

2.8 Noting COP6 Recommendation 6.14 relating to toxic chemicals and pollution, please advise of the actions taken since then "to remedy and to prevent pollution impacts affecting Ramsar sites and other wetlands" (Operative paragraph 9).

Since June 1997, we have implemented the PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) Pilot Project. We are currently evaluating its results and discussing the establishment of a national PRTR system.

In March 1997, we set up a research team of specialists to study substances that disrupt endocrine systems. In May 1998, we summarized strategic programs for future measures. We have just begun testing nationwide, especially in aquatic environments, for any adverse effect on wild animals of substances believed to disrupt endocrine systems.

Research has been conducted since 1994 to understand the effects of lead shotgun pellets on the waterfowl environment.

2.9 Describe what steps have been taken to incorporate wetland economic valuation techniques into natural resource planning and assessment actions.

In 1994, a three-year impact assessment was conducted to measure what effect the newly established Kushiro-shitsugen National Park had on the local economy.

2.10 Is Environmental Impact Assessment for actions potentially impacting on wetlands required under legislation in your country? Yes/No

Yes. Environmental impact assessments are required for activities such as reclaiming public water area.

2.11 Is wetland restoration and rehabilitation considered a priority in your country? Yes/No.  If Yes, describe the actions that have been taken to identify wetlands in need of these actions and to mobilise resources for restoration or rehabilitation.

Yes.  In the NSBD, efforts are made to appropriately conserve important ecosystems and habitats such as wetlands. Also, to restore the water quality in ocean areas where water and seabed quality have deteriorated and so on, measures are being taken such as forming tideland and beaches and restoring wetland vegetation. Furthermore, in discussions on environmental conservation policies in environmental impact assessments, priority is given to avoiding or minimizing any adverse effect. When considering how to compensate for damage to the environment by other measures or other locations, the evaluation should be based on a detailed comparison of the environment lost and the environment created.

For the fishery environment, restoration and creation of kelp coasts and tideflats are included as projects to be subsidized.

2.12 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage active and informed participation of local communities, including indigenous people, and in particular women, in the conservation and wise use of wetlands." (refer to Actions 2.7.1-4 in the Strategic Plan).

We supported the hosting of the International Workshop on Ramsar Sites Management Involving Local Communities in Japan.

Some examples of the Workshop's efforts are as follows:

Katano-kamoike: In this wetland, "wise use" has been maintained by hunting area unions and farmers since the Edo Era (about 17th-19th century). At present, local government entities, nature protection NGOs, and citizen groups work together on management and conservation activities. After registering with the Ramsar Convention, a liaison council was set up with the participation of all the people concerned with this wetland.

Yatsu-higata: After registering with the Ramsar Convention, the Narashino City Government set up the Yatsu-higata Nature Observation Center, which is aimed at conserving this mudflat,as well as providing education and otherwise enhancing public awareness. At present,there are organizations such as the Nature Observation Center Management Discussion Group, which mainly works on behalf of citizens, and the Friendship Exchange Meeting for Yatsu-higata Environmental Conservation, consisting of groups engaged in conservation at Yatsu-higata. These two organizations receive reports on discussions between the national, prefectural, and city government authorities concerning with Yatsu-higata conservation.

Some assistance is given to volunteer activities through training or other useful activities. These volunteers engage in research and study, cleanups, nature observation meetings, information collection in the wetlands in national parks, as well as public relations.

2.13 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage involvement of the private sector in the conservation and wise use of wetlands" (refer to Actions 2.8.1-4 in the Strategic Plan). Has this included a review of fiscal measures (taxation arrangements, etc.) to identify and remove disincentives and introduce incentives for wetlands conservation and wise use? Yes/No   If yes, please provide details.

Yes.

We have promoted diverse entity awareness including that of the private sector better with regard to the special characteristics of wetlands by creating the Inventory of Shorebird Staging Wetlands, conducting the National Survey on the Natural Environment, etc.

In order to increase understanding of the spirit of the Convention and the wise use of wetlands, we have held symposia and are constructing waterfowl-wetland centers at major designated wetlands.

We subsidize private-sector activities that support conservation and the wise use of wetlands through the Japan Fund for the Global Environment (refer to question 7.5).

In order to protect urban green belts, including wetlands, we amended the City Green Zone Conservation Law in 1995. This allows prefectural governors to designate specified private-sector organizations as management entities to buy up green space within city planning areas, and will allow the private sector to be used to help conserve and make use of green space.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 3
To raise awareness of wetland values and functions throughout the world and at all levels

3.1 Is there a government-run national programme for Education and Public Awareness in your country which focuses on, or includes, wetlands? Yes/No?   If yes, what are the priority actions under this programme and who are the target groups? (Refer also to question 9.4)

Yes. The government has set up waterfowl-wetland centers in the four major registered wetlands. These exhibit the flora, fauna and unique features of wetlands, and mount exhibits and talks by which to increase understanding of the Ramsar Convention such as the appropriate use of wetlands. Also, in the national parks that contain registered wetlands such as the Kushiro-shitsugen, such activities are also being conducted at the visitors' centers, targeting children, students, local residents, and tourists, among others.

3.2 Describe the steps taken to have wetlands issues and Ramsar’s Wise Use principles included as part of the curricula of educational institutions. Has this been at all levels of education (primary, secondary, tertiary and adult)? Please give details.

Not applicable.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 4
To reinforce the capacity of institutions in each Contracting Party to achieve conservation and wise use of wetlands.

4.1 Describe the mechanisms in place, or being introduced, to increase cooperation between the various institutions responsible for actions which can have an impact on the conservation and wise use of wetlands. If one of the mechanisms is a National Ramsar/Wetlands Committee, please describe its composition, functions and modus operandi.

National Ramsar Committee Meeting

  • Composition: Local government entities related to designated wetlands, Wetlands International Japan, relevant ministries and agencies
  • Function: Information exchanges regarding the Ramsar Convention
  • Information exchanges regarding implementation of the Convention
  • Information exchanges upon compilation of the draft of the Convention's national report
  • Operation: The Nature Conservation Bureau of the Environment Agency acts as the secretariat and convenes liaison meetings as necessary.

Japanese Municipalities Involved with wetlands designated under the Ramsar Convention

  • Composition: local governments entities in areas where designated wetlands are located that agree with the Conference's goals. A president, vice-president, and inspector are selected.
  • Objective: to help with the appropriate management of Ramsar designated wetlands by encouraging an exchange of information and cooperation among local governments with regard to designated wetlands and by promoting wetland conservation at the regional level.
  • Operation: Mayor's conferences are held every three years in the year prior to the Conference of the Parties. Supervisory conferences are held at least one a year. The Secretariat is located in the supervisory agency within the host's local government.

Important Shorebird Habitat Administrative Communication Meeting

  • Composition: Prefectures that include important migration areas of shorebirds and the Environment Agency
  • Objective: Promotion of education on the importance of each region, survey and research regarding the migration of shorebirds in each area, and information exchange
  • Operation: Held approximately twice a year

4.2 Of the following, indicate which have been undertaken:

a. a review to identify the training needs of institutions and individuals concerned with the conservation and wise use of wetlands Yes/No? If yes, please indicate the major findings of the review.

No.

b. a review to identify training opportunities for these people both within your country and in other countries. Yes/No?

We are aware of some of them.

c. the development of training modules or a training programme specifically for wetland managers. If yes, please give details.

Yes.  JICA has developed JICA special training course in wetland conservation and protection of migratory birds aimed at mid-level managers of developing nations responsible for the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl. The course has been held for the last five years.

d. people from your country have gained wetland-related training either within or outside the country. Yes/No? If yes, please give details.

We have no data on this.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 5
To ensure the conservation of all sites included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar List).

5.1 Of the Ramsar sites in your country, how many have formal management plans:

a. being prepared?
b. fully prepared?
c. being implemented?

Please indicate in the attached table of Ramsar sites which sites these are and what category they fall into.

In Japan, areas where the natural environment is planned to be conserved are registered according to the regional designations based on laws such as Special Protection Zones in National Wildlife Protection Areas. In these areas, planned management is being conducted through plans to set up Wildlife Protection Areas and national and quasi-national park plans, based on various laws.

Furthermore, for the wetlands mentioned below, separate plans have been drawn up or are scheduled to be drawn up by local public entities, in order to conserve the environment of registered wetlands in addition to the plans based on the aforementioned laws.

A. Sakata

Presently, natural environment protection surveys are being conducted around Sakata and the Sakata Natural Environment Protection Plan is scheduled to be in place by March 2000.

B. Izu-numa and Uchi-numa

Comprehensive environmental protection plans are being set up, including water quality improvement, dredging, and lakeside environment maintenance. Policies are implemented based on these plans.

C. Kushiro-Shitsugen

The Kushiro-Shitsugen Conservation Plan, based on the Hokkaido Wetlands Conservation Master Plan, has been set up and comprehensive protection measures are being implemented.

D. Kutcharo-ko

This is designated as a special zone of the North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, and measures for conservation and use are being implemented based on the park plan.

Kutcharo-ko is designated as a priority lake based on the Hokkaido Lake and Swamp Environmental Protection Basic Guidelines. To conserve the natural environment, protect the habitat of the waterfowl, and prevent water pollution, the Kutcharo-ko Environmental Protection Plan was drawn up, and policies are being implemented accordingly.

E. Utonai-ko

Part of this sector is designated as the Tomakomai City Natural Environment Conservation Area (Utonai-ko Southeastern Section Sand Dune Nature Protection Area) and the comprehensive conservation and rehabilitation of the natural environment are duly being implemented.

F. Kiritappu-shitsugen

This is designated as a special zone of the Akkeshi Prefectural Natural Park, and its protection and use are being planned in line with the park plan and management guidelines.

G. Akkeshi-ko and Bekambeushi-shitsugen

Part of this is designated as a special zone of the Akkeshi Prefectural Natural Park, and its protection and use are being planned in line with the park plan and management guidelines.

5.2 Of the management plans referred to above, which ones have included a monitoring scheme or programme to allow changes in ecological character to be detected? Please indicate this in the attached table of Ramsar sites also.

In the registered wetlands that overlap with national wildlife protection areas, the national wildlife protection area conservation manager appointed by the government conducts a monthly population census survey of the number of birds. In the wetlands throughout the nation that are important migration sites for geese and ducks, habitation surveys are conducted simultaneously by each prefecture in mid-January.

Furthermore, although not included in the plans of the following wetlands,which already have independent plans or will draw up such plans under 5.1, instances of monitoring is being or will be conducted as follows:

- Hokkaido

Based on the Hokkaido Wetlands Conservation Master Plan, the prefecture is conducting the following monitoring as follows:

Wide-area monitoring: To access the overall changes in the conditions of large wetlands with areas over 1000 ha. and their surrounding regions, vegetation in both the wetland and the surrounding region is surveyed by analyzing satellite imaging data. Surveys of Kushiro-shitsugen, Akkeshi-ko and Bekambeushi-shitsugen, and Kiritappu-shitsugen have been carried out since 1997.

Regular monitoring: Vegetation surveys are conducted as part of wetland conservation plans for Kushiro-shitsugen (since 1997) and Kutcharo-ko (since 1998).

- Izu-numa and Uchi-numa

Population census surveys of geese and ducks are conducted biannually.Water quality surveys are conducted at one location monthly.

- Sakata

Basic surveys of life forms (a four-year survey of insects, fish, mammals,birds, and plants was started in 1998).Vegetation monitoring surveys will be conducted once every two years.

- Katano-kamoike

Insect surveys have been implemented (1996-97).

5.3 Has there been a change in the ecological character (either positive or negative) at any of your Ramsar sites or is this likely to occur in the near future? Yes/No. If Yes, please give details.

Biwa-ko

(1) Changes already occurring:

- Increase in the number of large fish-eating birds (river cormorants and crowned grebes) and decrease in the number of small fish-eating birds (grebes).

Izu-numa and Uchi-numa

(1) Changes already occurring:

- Water contamination caused by feeding and domestic wastewater inflow.

- Decrease in floating plants community and submerged water plants due to flood damage

- Changes in waterfowl distribution such as decrease of baldpates and swans, rapid increase of pintails

(2) Current state of measures:

- Drawing up the Izu-numa and Uchi-numa Environmental Conservation Basic Plans. Based on discussions of a council made up of academics, local governments, and other relevant organs, the following policies based on the above plans will be implemented.

- Installation of feeding places, sewage improvement, planting of mako algae and willow trees, purification tests of rivers, experimental implementation of purified water, etc.

Katano-kamoike

(1) Changes already occurring:

- Decrease in number of rice paddies in the area and increasing use of dry farmland.

- Decline in the number of migrating birds, mainly ducks.

- Spreading of reeds and accumulation of plant residue.

(2) Current state of measures:

- In order to combat the drying and encroachment of dry land in Kamo-ike,projects to maintain habitats such as water channels and gathering pools were conducted in 1995. Also, surveys on improvements in the feeding environment have been conducted since 1997, and rice paddy recovery projects have been implemented around Kamo-ike since 1998.

Kushiro-shitsugen

(1) Changes already occurring:

- Expansion of the alder forests

(2) Current state of measures:

- Monitoring of drying trends using index plants.

-A 4-year study to develop a system to evaluate the wetland ecosystem based on stocked data and measures to maintain and rehabilitate wetland ecosystem is planned for 1998 to 2002.

Sakata

(1) Changes already occurring:

- Reduction in plant diversity caused by the spread of large floating plants such as reeds and mako algae.

- Increase in the number of migrating geese and ducks.

(2) Possible changes in the near future:

- Deterioration of water quality due to inflow of nitrates from groundwater from the surrounding tideland areas.

(3) Current state of measures:

- The city is conducting natural environment conservation surveys on the area surrounding Sakata. The "Sakata Natural Environment Protection Plan" will then be instituted based on the results.

Utonai-ko

(1) Changes already occurring:

- Reduction in the open water surface and water depth due to sedimentary deposits.

- Increase in dissolved nitrogen.

- Migration of raccoons into the area.

(2) Possible changes in the near future:

- Impact on existing species by raccoons.

(3) Current state of measures:

- Questionnaire surveys were conducted to assess the spread of raccoons in the prefecture in 1998. Reports of eyewitness sighting around Utonai-ko reports are being gathered.

Yatsu-higata

(1) Changes already occurring:

- The progressive buildup of sand runoff on the tideland floor.

- A rise in salinity due to the cessation of household waste water.

- An increase in algae on the tideland surface.

(2) Current state of measures:

- A survey to see what effects the above environmental changes in the tidelands have had on the habitat of tideland wildlife such as shorebirds was conducted in 1995. The results were analyzed in 1996, and monitoring methods are now being debated.

5.4 In the case of Montreux Record Ramsar sites where the Management Guidance Procedure has been applied, what is the status of the implementation of the MGP report recommendations? What is the expected time-frame for removing the site from the Montreux Record?

None.

5.5 For those countries referred to in COP6 Recommendations 6.17.1-4, "Ramsar sites in the Territories of Specific Contracting Parties", please provide advice on the actions that have been taken in response to the issues raised at that time.

None.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 6
To designate for the Ramsar List those wetlands which meet the Convention’s criteria, especially wetland types still under-represented in the List and transfrontier wetlands.

6.1 Has a national inventory of wetlands been prepared for your country? Yes/No.

There are no official lists of domestic wetlands listing every wetland that meets the criteria for registration under the Ramsar Convention.

If no, are there plans for this to be done? Yes/No.

Where a national inventory exists please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept and what information it contains.

6.2 Does there exist a list or directory of "important" wetlands for your country or region? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept, what criteria for "important" were used, and the types of information it contains.

Yes.  Although no official lists exist, checklists of wetlands for migratory shorebirds have been compiled, as follows;

Title: Inventory of Shorebird Staging Wetlands

Compilation date: September 8, 1997

Place of custody: Wildlife Protection Division, Nature Conservation Bureau, Environment Agency

Criteria: Have selected the following wetlands thought to meet the standards for inclusion in the "East Asian-Australian Shorebirds Reserve Network," based on the findings of fixed point surveys conducted from 1988 to 1996.

A. Regularly used by over 20,000 migratory shorebirds.

B. Regularly used by over 1% of the estimated total population of a given species (or subspecies) of shorebird.

C. Used to certain degrees by endangered species (subspecies or regional groups) of migratory shorebirds.

Types of information: Name of wetlands, location, environmental category, type of wetland, type of designation by domestic laws, any limits on ownership rights, land ownership status, records that indicate numbers over a standard level (species name, number, and survey date),and location map (1/50,000 topographical map).

Title: Japanese Wetlands Inventory of international importance especially as waterfowl habitat.

Date of compilation: August 25, 1989

Place of storage: Wetlands International-Japan

Criteria: Representative or unique wetlands of the Convention

Types of information: Name of the wetland, location, area, altitude, biological district, wetland type, description of site, climatic conditions,principal vegetation, land tenure, current conservation measures, ideal conservation measures, land use, possible changes in land use, obstacles and threats, socioeconomic value, fauna types, special vegetation values, research and facilities, and criteria for inclusion

Title: Inventory of Goose Habitat in Japan, first edition.

Compilation date: June 1, 1994

Place of storage: Japanese Association for Wild Geese Protection

Criteria: Specific criteria based on waterfowl of the Ramsar Convention with the information of population size of goose species (Anser, Branta, and Anatidae) supported by the site.

Types of information: Name, location, geographical coordinates, habitat type, climate, population sizes of goose species, use of the habitat by goose species, current status and problems with the goose conservation,contact address, references, and maps. In Japanese with an English summary

6.3 If it is known, please provide an estimate of the area of wetlands in your country at present and any information on rates of loss or conversion to other activities. If this information is available, please indicate what definition of "wetland" was used.

Name: Marine Organism Environment Survey (The 4th National Survey on the Natural Environment)

Survey year: 1989-92

Survey summary: Understanding the distribution and changes in tideflats and coral reefs as important ecosystems in ocean areas

Survey results:

- Tideflats

Remaining area: 51,443 ha

Lost area: 3,857 ha (from 1978 to survey year)

Percentage of lost area: 7.0%

Reasons for losses: Reclamation, dredging, and other changes. The definition of tideflats used in the survey:

A. The maximum width of the exposed area between the low and high tide

lines must be more then 100 m.

B. The area of continuous exposed area in large tides must be at least 1 ha.

C. The sea bottom features must be mobile (sand, gravel, sandy mud, and mud).

- Coral reef moat

Remaining area: 96,023 ha

Lost area: 1,506.7 ha (1979-92)

Percentage of lost area: 1.6%

Reasons for losses: reclamation and other changes

The mast and the reef margin.

Name: Survey of Artificial Modification of Shore-Line of Lakes and Marshes (The 4th National Survey on the Natural Environment, Lake and Marsh Survey)

Survey Year: 1991

Survey summary: Survey of the changes in the condition of lake shores in the target lakes and marshes (lake shores are divided into "natural shores", "semi-natural shores", " artificial shores", and "water surfaces"), etc.

The definition of lakes and marshes used in the survey:

Lakes and Marshes: Major lakes and marshes larger than 1 ha. In the 4th survey, 480 were surveyed.

Natural lake shores: Parts where the waterline is not a man-made structure

such as a concrete embankment, sheet piles remain in their natural state,and where there are no man-made structures within an area 20 m inland.

Semi-natural lake shores: Parts where, although the waterline is not a man-made structure, such as a concrete embankment, sheet piles remaining in their natural state, and there are man-made structures within an area 20 m inland. Artificial lake shores: Parts where the waterline is a man-made structure.

Survey results: Lake shore total length: 3,183.4 km (100%); natural lake shores: 1,803.0 km (56.6%); semi-artificial lake shores: 393.7 km (12.4%); artificial lake shores: 965.2 km (30.3%); and water surfaces: 21.5 (0.7%). The percentage of natural lake shores has declined by 2.2% since the previous study (1985).

Name: Alteration Riverbank Survey (The 4th National Survey on the Natural Environment, River Survey)

Survey year: 1992

Survey summary: Survey of the changes in the condition of riverbank alterations (to assess the ratio of riverbank protection placements) of target rivers.

[Division of altered riverbanks]

Alteration of riverbanks is divided as described below:

- Man-made riverbanks: The riverbanks are man-made structures, such as concrete embankments, stone embankments or sheet piles.

- Natural riverbanks: The riverbank is not a man-made structure such as a concrete embankment, stone embankment, or sheet pile.

Surveyed rivers:

Of the main branches of secondary rivers and tributaries of primary rivers,153 rivers that pass through excellent natural regions -- those that have large drainage basins and those that have abundant wildlife -- were surveyed.

Survey results: Total surveyed river length: 6,249.0 km (100%); natural riverbanks: 4,585.6 km (73.4%); and artificial riverbanks: 1,663.4 km (26.6%).

- Furthermore, we have completed the following surveys of wetlands and are currently compiling the data.

Name: Wetland survey

Survey year: 1994

(Summary of survey)

Basic points (Location, area, altitude, type of wetland, type of land ownership, topology, aquatic conditions, conditions of use and change,legal status, and cultural value)

- Specific effects of land changes (silt buildup, etc.)

- Endangered Species (RDB, etc.)

- Vegetation, bird, animal, and water quality surveys

(The definition of "wetland" used in the survey)

They must meet one of the following conditions:

A. Areas of vegetation in soil in which the moisture content is fully or very nearly saturated

B. Areas of vegetation and connected areas of open water or naturally bare soil that is submerged constantly or regularly (more than once a year)

C. Waterlogged areas (shallower than 6 m) and surrounding areas of vegetation

All of the following conditions must also be met:

A. Be located on land areas

B. Have areas greater than 1 ha. (does not apply to significant habitats for flora and fauna)

C. Be naturally occurring (does not apply to significant habitats for flora and fauna)

Name: Coastal Area survey

Survey year: 1995

(Survey summary)

- Neritic region distribution survey (Definition of "neritic": The region between high tide and 10 m depth)

- Coastal environment survey (1. Area, status change, and biota for every type of ecosystem; 2. The status of use and legal designation; 3. Changes in the status of the coast)

- Coastal organism survey

6.4 Have any actions been taken in response to the COP6 Resolutions and Recommendations that Contracting Parties should give priority to listing Wetlands of International Importance which:

a. meet the criteria for fish habitat (Resolution VI.2),

No.

b. meet the 1% criterion for waterbird populations using data provided by the International Waterfowl Census (Resolution VI.4),

Yes.

c. are subterranean karst or cave wetland systems (Resolution VI.5),

No.

d. are peatland ecosystems (Recommendation 6.1)

No.

e. are coral reefs and associated systems (Recommendation 6.7)

No.

f. are under-represented wetland types (which apart from d. and e. above include mangroves and sea grass beds) (Strategic Plan Action 6.2.3)

No.

In September 1997, we compiled the "Inventory of Shorebird Staging Wetlands" and distributed it to the relevant local governments. Also, we have started work on designating wetlands that meet the designation criteria, including the wetlands used by other migratory birds.

6.5 If your government indicated at COP6 that it would be proceeding to list further specific sites, please advise of the status of this action.

Japan did not report.

6.6 Please advise which of the sites included in the Ramsar List from your country are transfrontier wetlands (Refer also to 7.1).

None.

6.7 Describe any plans, or actions being taken for further transfrontier sites to be listed (Refer also to 7.1).

None.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 7
To mobilise international cooperation and financial assistance for wetland conservation and wise use in collaboration with other conventions and agencies, both governmental and non-governmental.

7.1 Briefly describe any bilateral or multilateral activities that have been taken, are under way, or are planned for the management of transfrontier wetlands or their watersheds/catchments (Refer also to 6.6 and 6.7).

None.

7.2 Do you have Ramsar sites that are "twinned" with others, either nationally or internationally? Yes/No. If yes, please give details.

Yes.

1. Kushiro-shitsugen, Kiritappu-shitsugen, Akkeshi-ko- Bekambeushi-shitsugen and Kooragang Nature Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

1) Contract date: November 7, 1994

2) Contracting entities:

a. Kushiro-shitsugen - City of Kushiro, towns of Kushiro, Shibecha, Hamanaka, and Akkeshi, and village of Tsurui

b. Kooragang - Cities of Newcastle and Port Stephens

3) Contract contents

a. Information exchanges for the conservation and wise use of wetlands

b. Information exchanges on surveys and research activities

c. Regular exchange of sister wetland official tour groups

d. Exchanges and communication between researchers related to wetlands issues

e. Promoting joint research on migratory bird issues

f. Exchanges between the KIWC (Kushiro International Wetland Center) and the Shortland Wetland Center

g. Education and enlightenment activities on the Ramsar Convention

2. Yatsu-higata and Boondall Wetland, Boondall Wetland Park (Moreton Bay), Queensland, Australia

1) Contract date: February 25, 1998

2) Contracting entities:

a. Yatsu-higata: City of Narashino

b. Boondall Wetlands: City of Brisbane

3) Contract contents

a. Information exchanges and research on conservation of the wetlands and protection of the migratory birds

b. Exchange of wetlands protection personnel and research support

c. Support for exchanges between children to promote understanding of the protection of nature

d. Developing educational projects for conservation of the wetlands and protection of the migratory birds

e. Support for mutual exchanges

7.3 Where your country is also a signatory of any of the following Conventions, describe what mechanism(s) exist to assist regular dialogue and cooperative actions between the personnel responsible for their implementation and the Ramsar Administrative Authority:

a. Convention on Biological Diversity
b. Framework Convention on Climate Change
c. Convention to Combat Desertification
d. Convention on Migratory Species
e. World Heritage Convention

Japan is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the World Heritage Convention. There are no regular consultations between the relevant agencies of these treaties and those of Ramsar. But there are meetings between the Ramsar sections in the relevant agencies and those of these related treaties, when necessary.

7.4 Is your country cooperating as part of any bilateral or multilateral activities directed at the conservation of migratory wetland species? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.

Yes.

1. Bilateral cooperation

Based on the migratory bird protection treaties and agreements between Japan and the U.S., Russia, Australia, and China, we are trying to stop the hunting of migratory birds, are setting up protection areas, and are taking steps to protect their habitat. We also perform joint research on specific species. Joint research has also been started under the Japan-Korea Environmental Protection and Cooperation Agreement. The major cooperation projects are:

1) Satellite tracking surveys of Eastern curlews (Numenius Madagascariensis) (with Australia)

2) Joint research on Saunders's gulls (Larus saundersi) (with China)

3) Joint research on hooded cranes (Grus monacha) and white-naped cranes (Grus vipio) (with Korea)

4) Research project for the protection of Steller's sea-eagles (Haliaeetus pelagicus) (with Russia)

2. Multilateral cooperation

Japan support the activities of the East Asian-Australian Shorebird Reserve Network and the Northeast Asian Crane Site Network, which are based on the Asia Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy of Wetland International-Asia Pacific.

Japan also support the formation of the Anatidae Site Network.

7.5 Are there multilateral and/or bilateral donors supporting projects which contribute to implementation of the Ramsar Convention in your country? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.

Yes.

A. Name of organization: Japan Environment Corporation

B. Address: Tochi Building, 1-4-1- Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

C. Telephone: 03-5251-1017

D. Fax: 03-3592-5056

E. Projects supported in fiscal 1998: 195 cases, \651.3 million

Examples of main projects supported for Convention compliance:

1) Teacher training workshop on environmental education in South-east Asian countries (International Lake Environment Committee Foundation)

2) Conservation of mangrove forests in Micronesia (Wetlands International Japan)

3) Inventory of goose habitat of international importance in East Asia (Japanese Association for Wild Geese Protection)

4) Research and conservation for threatened Black-faced spoonbill (platalea minor) (Wild Bird Society of Japan)

5) Public awareness on the Ramsar Convention and its wise use concept in Asia including Japan (Ramsar Center Japan)

6) East India/Chilka Lake project (Wetlands International Asia-Pacific)

7) Nature resource awareness and education for school children about a project on Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur (Indian Environmental Society)

7.6 Does your government make an annual budgetary allocation to support the conservation and wise use of wetlands within your country? Yes/No. If yes, is this a specific allocation to a wetlands programme or as part of a larger environment or natural resource management budget?

Yes. The budget is for the management of natural resources including wetlands.

7.7 If your country has a development assistance programme, does it include funds earmarked for wetland conservation and wise use in other countries? Yes/No. If yes, please give details.

Yes. JICA has offered special training courses in wetland conservation and protection of migratory birds since 1994 and accepts trainees from East Asia. In 1997, there were seven such trainees at a total cost of \2,378,000 (actual training costs only, not including travel and other expenses of the trainees).

7.8 Is there a formal process in place for consultation between the Ramsar Administrative Authority and the development assistance programme in your country, where one exists? Yes/No. If yes, what is that process.

Yes.  JICA and the Environment Agency confer and adjust the training content.


Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 8
To provide the Convention with the required institutional mechanisms and resources.

8.1 Has your government made voluntary financial contributions, other than the invoiced contributions or to the Small Grants Fund, to further the work of the Convention globally? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.

Yes.  Japan makes term contributions to the Convention Secretariat outside of its allocated shares (SFr 311,677 in 1997). The voluntary contributions are earmarked for high-priority items among the secretariat's activities.

8.2 If your country is in arrears with the payment of its annual contributions to the Ramsar Convention, please indicate the reasons for this situation and the prospects for paying these arrears in the near future.

We are not overdue.


Optional section - Participation of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention

These are optional questions relating to cooperation with and involvement of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention.

At COP6 some 42 NGOs made the "Brisbane NGO pledge of support for the Ramsar Convention". The Standing Committee agreed that for COP7 there should be an effort made to gauge the level and type of cooperation which is occurring between government Administrative Authorities and the national and international NGOs with an interest in wetlands issues.

In this optional section of the National Report, you are asked to describe the nature of the cooperation and relationship with any other international, regional, national and provincial NGOs operating within your country.

9.1 Approximately how many NGOs have wetlands as part of their regular "business" in your country? Please break this down between international, regional and national/provincial organizations.

The fiscal 1998 Environmental Yearbook lists 4,227 private-sector environmental protection organizations nationwide. It is not clear how many of these organizations are involved in wetlands issues in the normal scope of their activities.

9.2 Is there a regular forum or mechanism through which these NGOs express their views on wetland conservation and Ramsar implementation:

a. to each other? Yes/No

Yes. Wetlands International Japan, the umbrella organization for NGOs involved in wetlands issues, is a member of the Ramsar National Committee Meeting. They hold a forum for the NGOs before and after the Meeting to exchange views.

b. to the government? Yes/No

Yes. Three representatives of Wetlands International Japan are included as members in the Ramsar National Committee Meeting.

9.3 Does your government include one or more NGO representatives on its official delegation to Ramsar COPs? Yes/No

No.

9.4 Do any of the NGOs run programmes aimed at Education and Public Awareness about wetlands in your country? Yes/No. If yes, please give details (Refer also to question 3.1).

Yes.  Educational programs to promote understanding of wetlands are offered by following:

1) Wetlands International Japan

2) Japan Committee of the World Wide Fund for Nature (Foundation)

3) Wild Bird Society of Japan

4) Yamashina Institute for Ornithology

5) Kushiro International Wetland Center

6) Ramsar Center Japan

7) Wetlands Network of Japan

9.5 Where they exist, do Ramsar site management advisory committees include NGO representatives? If yes, please give details

There are no Ramsar wetlands management advisory committees in Japan.

9.6 Describe the themes of the Convention (refer to General Objectives 1-8 of the Strategic Plan) where you perceive the national/provincial NGOs to be most active.

For both nationwide and local levels, we believe that most activities lie in Goal 3.


Final comments:

10.1 General comments on implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan.

10.2 Observations concerning the functioning of, relations with, and services provided by:

a. The Ramsar Standing Committee
b. The Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel
c. The Ramsar Bureau
d. The Ramsar NGO partners

10.3 Any other general observations and/or recommendations for the future.

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