Summary of press conference

Summary of content of press conference held at COP10 in Nagoya
19 October 16:30~17:00 (International Conference Room)
(For more information see contact list at bottom of this brief.)

“A Nuclear Plant in Japanese Biodiversity Hotspot?!”

While the CBD negotiations are in progress in Nagoya, the Japanese government is supporting a Japanese electric utility to proceed with reclaiming one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in Japan, located in Yamaguchi Prefecture facing Japan’s Inland Sea.

According to Isao NISHIUMI, vice-president of the Ornithological Society of Japan, the Kaminoseki area in question is habitat to endangered species found only in Japan. He stated that the Ecological Society of Japan, the Ornithological Society of Japan, and the Benthos Society of Japan have jointly submitted over 10 statements petitioning the Japanese government and Chugoku Electric (the utility planning to build the nuclear power plant), demanding that the environmental assessment be redone. However, to date, their appeals have been ignored.

Nishiumi stated at the press conference today, “The Japanese government, as host country of the COP10 Convention on Biological Diversity is appealing to nations worldwide to protect sea grass and corals, and other habitat of shallow coastal marine areas. At the same time, it is attempting to destroy that very habitat in Japan. I protest this action of the Japanese government.”

Nishiumi reported that this area is the habitat for three species of birds: the Japanese Japanese murrelet, streaked shearwater, and Japanese wood pigeon. These three species are endemic only to Japan, virtually non-existent elsewhere. They have all been designated as endangered species. Nishiumi states, “If Japan does not protect them and the other endangered marine species located in the Kaminoseki area, they will be destroyed.”

Midori TAKASHIMA, Director of the Association for the Preservation of Nagashima’s Nature, the conservation organization working in the Kaminoseki area explained that this area is considered a biodiversity hot spot, and there are internationally recognized endangered species where the landfill is about to take place. The area is habitat for the Sunameri (Finless Porpoise), the smallest whale in the world, which is listed as an endangered species under the Washington Convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The Kaminoseki area is the only area where the Sunameri has not only maintained its numbers but rears its young. For more information concerning the issues raised by the Association for the Preservation of Nagashima’s Nature see:

Another spokesperson at the press conference was Masae YUASA who reported that 294 organizations issued an international joint statement today to delegates of COP 10 concerning this issue. For more details please see:

The final spokesperson was Masako SAKATA from Tokyo, Director of Save Mt. Takao Kenju Association. She explained that citizen organizations across the Japanese nation were concerned about the protection of the Kaminoseki area and potential destruction of it by reclamation work for a nuclear power plant. She reported on a hunger strike that is underway by young people who have gathered from all parts of Japan who have travelled from Kaminoseki to the COP10 conference and were present at the press conference.

Masako Sakata stated, “The Japanese people have great expectations for COP 10. If Japan, the host country supports the destruction of one of the most important biodiversity hot spots in Japan while COP10 (Convention on Biological Diversity) is underway, I fear that this guts the credibility of the entire process. Japan can only regain its credibility if it stops this destruction.”

Today, the main vessel headed for reclamation work at the Kaminoseki site round aground and was damaged, thus delaying start of reclamation work for an unknown length of time.

This English summary compiled by Aileen Mioko Smith
Contact: 090-3620-9251 (Kyoto, Japan) amsmith@gol.com

Press conference speakers:
A Nuclear Plant in Biodiversity Hotspot?!
Date/time: 16:30, Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Venue: International Conference Room, 3rd Floor

●Host: Akio Kohchi(Japan Civil Network for Convention on Biological Diversity(JCN-CBD)Member of Steering Committee) info@cbd-j.net 

●Midori Takashima(The Association for the Conservation of Nagashima Island) midori.t@crocus.ocn.ne.jp
Isao Nishiumi(Vice President, The Ornithological Society of Japan) nihon-chogakkai@lagopus.com

●Masae Yuasa (Director,, Hiroshima-Kaminoseki Link) yuasa@intl.hiroshima-cu.ac.jp

●Masako Sakata(Director, Save Mt. Takao Kenju Association) kenju_sakata@yahoo.co.jp
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