Ramsar Secretary General visits Japan, especially its tidal flats, September 2001

Ramsar Secretary General visits Japan, especially its tidal flats, September 2001

13 September 2001

Delmar Blasco, the Secretary General, visited Japan, 29 August to 4 September, for meetings with Ms.Yoriko Kawaguchi, the Minister of Environment, and Mr. Shigeo Uetake, Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as further discussions with JICA, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, and with the Secretary General of the World Water Forum 3 (2003), Mr. Hideaki Oda. He also had a meeting with the Mayor of Nagoya city, a visit to the Fujimae tidal flats, a visit to the Sanbanze wetlands in Tokyo Bay (all organized by the Japan Action Wetlands Network, JAWAN), and a meeting with the Governor of Chiba Prefecture, Ms Akiko Domoto. Finally he chaired one of the working groups at the "World Summit for Sustainable Development - International Eminent Persons Meeting on Inter-linkages", organized by the United Nations University and the Government of Japan. Here is a report of part of his visit from Tamako Tsukiji, Ramsar Center Japan, followed by some further photos:

Hi all, I'm sending a second set of photos.

Mr Delmar Blasco visited two tidal flat areas in Chiba Prefecture, which is located next to Tokyo, on 2nd September after his visit to another tidal flat area - Fujimae in Central Japan. According to newspaper articles, Mr Blasco has encouraged both the Nagoya City government and the Central Government to designate Fujimae as a Ramsar site. The Nagoya City government had a plan to construct a garbage dumping site at Fujimae, but abandoned the plan and has saved the last remaining major mudflat system in front of Nagoya City - the one of largest cities in Japan with the population of over two million.

Mr Blasco visited two mudflat areas in Chiba Prefecture on Sunday 2nd September.

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Sanbanze (or Sanbanse) is not a Ramsar site, but is the largest (1,200 ha) of remaining mudflat areas in Tokyo Bay. Over 90% of shorelines along Tokyo Bay has been already reclaimed. There have been a lot of arguments on how to conserve, how to improve, whether or how to restore the area. Because of the controversial nature of arguments, Mr Blasco has been surrounded by a lot of journalist all the day, interviewed and asked for his advices.

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Mr Blasco and a local fisherman with his family. The fisherman thought the Ramsar designation of Sanbanze would prohibit any fishing activities in the area. After Mr Blasco explained the wise use concept of the Ramsar Convention, this photo was taken.

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Mr Blasco and the Mayor of Narashino City (the second from the left) at the Yatsu Nature Observation Center. Yatsu tidal flat area is a Ramsar site located in Narashino City.

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Mr Blasco watching a large-screen monitoring facility after changing his socks. (Sorry, Dr Kobayashi did not explain what this means, but insisted that I should include this.)
[Editor: The Secretary General had been touring Yatsu Higata in a borrowed pair of leaky boots, -- probably lent to him by Satoshi Kobayashi.]

I myself live with my parents in Chiba Prefecture, very close to Sanbanze. I very much appreciate Mr Blasco's efforts in wetland conservation and disseminating information himself on the Ramsar Convention. Thank you very much for visiting Sanbanze.

Warmest regards, Tamako Tsukiji

Some more photos from other sources

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Visiting the Sanbanze wetlands, Mr Blasco (odd hat, center) speaks with Mr Kiyoshi Ohama (odd hat, left), leader of the Tidal Flats Association, and translator Minoru Kashiwagi, Japan Wetlands Action Network. Find the Ramsar Brisbane COP6 T-shirt in this picture.

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Local organizations at Sanbanze.

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Local organizations welcoming the Secretary General to the Fujimae tidal flats.

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Mr Blasco (right) visiting Fujimae with the leader of the Fujimae Association (2nd from left) and Vice Minister of the Environment (next to Mr Blasco).

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Members of the Fujimae Association with banners calling for the designation of the tidal flats for the Ramsar List.

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Mayor Ismau Araki, Mayor of Narashino, presents the Secretary General with a pin.

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Trying on the new pin for good luck. Steve Sawa, the mayor's assistant from the city's Environmental Policies Section, sent us this series of photos and supplied the onboard captions.

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Señor Blasco settles down before the cameras with a superb, excellent bottle of Evian water and signs in on the guest book . . .

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. . . with a little Japanese thrown in at the end.

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The Secretary General and our frequent correspondent Steve Sawa from the city government.