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Home なくなりそうな自然を守る 沖縄・辺野古 大浦湾の保全 ニュース&トピックス Conservation of Dugong (Dugong dugon), Okinawa Woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii), and Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae)

沖縄・辺野古 大浦湾の保全 ニュース&トピックス 一覧に戻る

2001.07.06

Conservation of Dugong (Dugong dugon), Okinawa Woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii), and Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae)

6 July 2001

Joint Declaration

Conservation of Dugong (Dugong dugon), Okinawa Woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii),and Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae)in and around Okinawa Island

Particularly with regard to Relocation of Futenuma Airport and Plans for Construction of Helipads for U.S. Military Facilities in the Yambaru Region

World Wide Fund for Nature Japan (WWF-Japan)
Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J)
Wild Bird Society of Japan (WBSJ)
Japan Association for Wild Geese Protection (JAWGP)
Wildlife Rescue Veterinarian’s Association, Japan (WRV)
Elsa Nature Conservancy, Japan (ENC)
(IUCN Members)

Save the Dugong Fund Committee
Dugong Network Okinawa
Okinawa Environmental Network
Dugong Conservation Campaign Center
(Supporting organizations)

In October 2000, the 2nd IUCN (World Conservation Union) World Conservation Congress held in Amman, Jordan, adopted the Recommendation “Conservation of Dugong (Dugong dugon), Okinawa Woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii), and Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae) in and around Okinawa Island” (CGR2. CNV004xCNV005).

This recommendation urges the Government of Japan to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment on the construction of military facilities, to implement conservation measures to protect the Dugong, to prepare a conservation plan for the Dugong and the Yambaru region, and consider nomination of Yambaru as a World Heritage Site. It urges the Government of the United States of America to cooperate on the Environmental Impact Assessment, and it urges both the Governments of Japan and the United States to undertake assessments of construction of military facilities and training plans and, based on these assessments, to implement conservation measures.

The IUCN is composed of 79 national governments, 112 agencies of these various governments, and 735 non-governmental organizations. It has a close relationship with the United Nations and is the largest nature conservation organization in the world. Recommendations of the IUCN have the same weight as recommendations adopted on the basis of international treaties, and it is the duty of relevant governments, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations to abide by and implement these Recommendations.

We call on the Governments of Japan and of the United States of America to abide by the Recommendation “Conservation of Dugong (Dugong dugon), Okinawa Woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii), and Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae) in and around Okinawa Island,” and in pursuit of this goal, to swiftly implement the measures outlined below.

We call on the Government of Japan to implement the following measures.

With respect to the Dugong:

1. Implement an Environmental Impact Assessment for multiple options before drawing up the basic project plan for relocation of Futenuma Airport.

The Government of Japan is already drawing up the basic project plan for relocation of Futenuma Airport, the Futenuma Airport Relocation Committee having already proposed 8 alternatives using 3 types of construction methods, all in the Henoko area. It intends to carry out the Environmental Impact Assessment after it has finished drawing up the basic project plan.

However, a true Environmental Impact Assessment is most appropriately carried out – the impacts of construction of the military facility on the habitat of the Dugong analytically compared, and measures to avoid or minimize such impacts considered – while the basic plan is being drawn up. Reference materials provided to the Futenuma Airport Relocation Committee by the Defense Agency all point out the need to take conservation measures to protect the Dugong in relation to all 8 alternatives / 3 construction methods, but no actual measures are proposed.

If planners persist in their present course and carry out the Environmental Impact Assessment after the basic project plan has been drawn up, it is very likely that the assessment will be no more than an old-fashioned project assessment, intended merely to promote acceptance of the project with minimal environmental measures tacked on. This type of outdated project assessment, until recently standard in Japan, is completely different from the assessment the IUCN Recommendation calls for – assessment in the planning phases that meets international standards. An old-fashioned project assessment will not function to prevent extinction or promote recovery of the Okinawa Dugong population.

Due consideration of the IUCN Recommendation should lead to an Environmental Impact Assessment that meets international standards, is carried out in the planning phase before the basic project plan is decided on, and that considers multiple options (not just 8 alternatives / 3 construction methods all at Henoko, but rather options of other sites as well as the option of no construction).

We thus urge the Government of Japan to give due consideration the IUCN Recommendation and to carry out the Environmental Impact Assessment considering multiple options before the basic project plan is drawn up.

2. Request the Cooperation of the Government of the United States of America on the Environmental Impact Assessment

The IUCN Recommendation notes that the Dugong is listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and urges the Government of the United States to cooperate on the Environmental Impact Assessment, as requested by the Government of Japan. The United States also noted during the plenary session of the 2nd IUCN Congress that they are prepared to cooperate on the Environmental Impact Assessment, as requested by Japan. We thus urge the Government of Japan to request the cooperation of the Government of the United States in carrying out the Environmental Impact Assessment.

3. Include the Dugong on the list of protected species under the Law for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (LCES) and accordingly designate its habitat as a reserve.

In accordance with a 1992 memorandum between the Environment Agency and the Fisheries Agency, the Dugong cannot be included on the list of governed by LCES. However, in a meeting of the House of Councilor’s Budget Committee in March, 2001, both the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Minister for Environment made statements indicating that the Dugong would be released from the strictures of this memorandum. According to newspaper reports in May, the Ministry of Environment was said to be considering adding the Dugong to the list of species protected under the LCES, and was also considering designating a reserve to protect its habitat. In June, the Minister for Environment said that an extensive survey of the Dugong and of the sea grass beds that form part of its habitat would be performed. We urge the Government of Japan to speedily designate the Dugong as a protected species and implement extensive surveys of its habitat.

4. Take urgent measures to prevent Dugong fatalities due to entanglement in fishing nets, etc.

The carcasses of Dugongs that have apparently died due to being tangled in fishing nets around the island of Okinawa number as many as 3 in a year. Considering the extremely small number of individuals in the Okinawan population of Dugongs, this kind of accidental death can be a major cause of extinction. We urge the government of Japan to swiftly implement a system to rescue Dugongs caught in fishing nets that does not cause economic harm to fishers.

 

With respect to the Okinawa Woodpecker and the Okinawa Rail

1. Release information regarding environmental surveys presently under way by the Defense Facilities Administration Agency, and incorporate the opinions of scientists, citizens, environmental non-governmental organizations, etc., in the analysis of survey results.

We commend the Defense Facilities Administration Agency’s decision to carry out environmental surveys regarding construction of a helipad and other U.S. military facilities for the U.S. Marine Corps Jungle Warfare Training Centre in northern Okinawa Is. over the course of two years. We urge the Japanese government to release information regarding the areas to be surveyed, methods used, and results, to solicit opinions regarding these from scientists, local residents, citizens and non-governmental organizations, and to incorporate these opinions in the analysis of the survey results.

2. Carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment

As is also urged by the IUCN Recommendation, we call for implementation of a proper Environmental Impact Assessment of the effects of construction of 7 military helipads and connecting roads, and of military training exercises being planned for the area on the biological diversity of the Yambaru region, on the Okinawa Woodpecker, the Okinawa Rail, and other endangered species.

3. Draw up without delay a conservation plan to protect the biological diversity and endangered species of the Yambaru region.

As is also urged by the IUCN Recommendation, we urge the Government of Japan to draw up as soon as possible a conservation plan to protect the biological diversity and endangered species of the Yambaru region, to implement urgently needed measures immediately, and to undertake detailed scientific surveys of these species and their habitats.

 

We call on the Government of the United States of America to implement the following measures.

1. Cooperate with the Environmental Impact Assessment for the relocation of Futenuma Airport to be carried out by the Government of Japan.

As is urged by the IUCN Recommendation, we urge the Government of the United States to, on the request of the Government of Japan, cooperate with the Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out by the Government of Japan with respect to the construction of military facilities and their effects on the Dugong’s habitat sites and vicinity. In particular, we ask that the necessary adjustments be made so that the standards for the Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out by the Government of Japan meet the standards for Environmental Impact Assessment that the Government of the United States itself carries out under the provisions of its own environmental legislation, as noted below.

2. Make United States environmental legislation the basis for Environmental Impact Assessments to be carried out regarding impacts of construction of U.S. military facilities and United States Marine Corps military training exercises in Okinawa on the Dugong, Okinawa Woodpecker, Okinawa Rail, and other endangered species of Okinawa.

We believe that the environmental legislation of the United States, such as the “National Environmental Policy Act” and the “Endangered Species Act,” should act as the basis for assessing environmental impacts of the construction in Okinawa of United States military bases and of plans for military exercises utilizing those bases by the United States Marine Corps. We call for implementation of Environmental Impact Assessments in accordance with the provisions of these laws with respect to impacts of military base construction and military exercises on the Dugong, Okinawa Woodpecker, Okinawa Rail and other endangered species and their habitats.

3. Implement appropriate conservation measures for the protection of endangered species.

As is urged by the IUCN Recommendation, we call on the Government of the United States to implement appropriate measures, based on the results of Environmental Impact Assessments, to ensure the survival of endangered species such as the Dugong, Okinawa Woodpecker, Okinawa Rail, etc.


 

ANNEX1. IUCN Recommendation(October 2000 Amman, Jordan).

CGR2.CNV004xCNV005 Rev 1

Conservation of Dugong (Dugong dugon), Okinawa Woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii) and Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae) in and around the Okinawa Island

NOTING that Dugong (Dugong dugon) is a globally threatened species (VU A1 cd, IUCN 2000) and a local population around Okinawa Island is also Endangered (CR D1 or CR C2b, The Mammalogical Society of Japan 1997) , for they have been recorded in Japan only along the coast of Okinawa Island in the past 30 years (since the year 1970) and the Dugong is listed under the US Endangered Species Act ;

NOTING FURTHER that year round presence of Dugongs has been currently confirmed only on the east coasts of middle and northern parts of the Okinawa Island, indicating great importance of the region for conservation of Okinawa Dugongs, and this isolated habitat is small in area and the number of Dugong in this habitat is also small;

UNDERSTANDING that options for a military airport for the US Marine Corps include a central part of the Dugong’s habitat or an adjacent terrestrial area (a relocation site for the current Futenma Airport);

CONCERNED that if the construction of this airport is to be implemented in this area, it risks to destroy coral reefs and seagrass beds in the coastal area of Henoko, which are important resting and feeding area for Dugong, and may pose grave threats to the survival of the small local population;

ENDORSING the recent decision of the Japanese government to undertake voluntarily an Environmental Impact Assessment to determine the likely impact of construction to terrestrial and coastal habitats, including coral reefs and the seagrass beds on which the Dugong population depends for its survival;

NOTING that subtropical forests of the Yambaru, northern Okinawa Island, contain many endemic species and subspecies of international concern, such as Okinawa Woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii) (Critically Endangered, IUCN 2000) and Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae) (Endangered, IUCN 2000), and therefore it is a particularly important area for conservation of the biodiversity;

CONCERNED that the survival of many of these endemic species and subspecies in the Yambaru is threatened by dam construction, road construction for forestry, felling for timber and invasion by introduced species, all of which lead to deterioration of the habitat;

NOTING that a US military training site (US Marine Corps Jungle Warfare Training Centre) where development or entry by civilians is banned has acted as a wildlife refuge;

WELCOMING the decision that half of the US military training site will be returned to Japan in the near future and that there is a possibility of the Government of Japan designating this area as a Forest Ecosystems Protection Area and National Park;

CONCERNED that construction of seven helipads for military aircraft and connecting roads in the area remaining under US Marine Corps control risks deterioration of habitats of endemic species in the most important remaining natural forest area;

FURTHER CONCERNED that frequent military training in the area will cause disturbance to rare species such as the Okinawa Woodpecker and Okinawa Rail and increase their probability of extinction;

The World Conservation Congress at its 2nd Session in Amman, Jordan, 4-11 October 2000:

1. URGES the Government of Japan:

  • a) to complete as soon as possible the voluntary Environmental Impact Assessment on the construction of the military facilities in and around the habitat of the Dugong;
  • b) to implement as soon as possible Dugong conservation measures that will help stop further reduction of the population and help its recovery;
  • c) to prepare as soon as possible a conservation plan for the biodiversity and endangered species of the Yambaru and the local Dugong population, and conduct detailed studies of these species and their habitats;
  • d) to consider nomination of the Yambaru as a World Heritage Site;

2. URGES the Government of the United States of America to cooperate on the voluntary Environmental Impact Assessment, as requested by the Government of Japan.

3. URGES the Governments of Japan and the United States of America:

  • a) to take into account the findings of the voluntary Environmental Impact Assessment and on this basis take appropriate measures to help ensure the survival of the Dugong population;
  • b) to assess environmental effects of proposed construction of military facilities and training plans, taking into account the studies referred to in subpara 1 (c), and on this bases take appropriate measures to help ensure the survival of the Okinawa Woodpecker and Okinawa Rail.

 
Sponsors:

  • World Wide Fund for Nature Japan ( WWF-Japan )
  • Nature Conservation Society of Japan ( NACS-J )
  • Wild Bird Society of Japan ( WBSJ )
  • Japanese Association for Wild Geese Protection ( JAWGP )
  • Wildlife Rescue Veterinarian’s Association, Japan ( WRV )
  • Elsa Nature Conservancy, Japan ( ENC )

 

Annex2.Comments of WWF-Japan, Government of Japan and the USA.

These comments were transcribed from a tape recording and have not been revised by the speakers.

WWF-Japan

We submitted a motion for conservation of Dugong, Okinawa Woodpecker and Okinawa Rail in and around the Okinawa Island. Many Japanese people, including Okinawa, have much interest and expectations for this IUCN motion. 47,000 people put signatures in the petition which asks the IUCN to adopt this motion. Signature books are shown in the exhibition booth of Okinawa. They strongly want to conserve the endemic and endangered species for Okinawa and have much reliance and respect for the IUCN and its recommendation. So we would like to ask all of you to support our motion.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

The Government of Japan has already set up a policy guidance that maximum efforts should be made in order not to give serious impacts on natural environment at the occasion of relocation of the Futenma Airport and return of major part of the Northern Training Facility. Along this policy guidance, the Government of Japan has just decided to proceed to an assessment of the status of Dugong before formation of basic design of replacement facilities of Futenma Airport. Works of this assessment will be concluded as soon as possible. For some reasons, we would like to abstain from joining the consensus. However, as I said earlier, we will make maximum efforts for ensuring the survival of Dugong, Okinawa Woodpecker and Okinawa Rail. I will register this statement to be recorded and to be reflected in the volume of resolutions of this World Congress.

US Department of State

Considering the intent of the consolidated motion CNV 004 and 005 concerning conservation of Dugong, Okinawa Rail and Okinawa Woodpecker, the United States supports efforts to conserve these and other endangered and threatened species. And we respect and share the concern, responses these motions have shown, for the species’ continued survival. We had some questions about what has been requested in earlier versions of this motion, but we feel the current version is much clearer. And in this context, I can say that we support a comprehensive and transparent Environmental Impact Assessment on the proposed Futenma relocation options and are prepared to cooperate on the Environmental Impact Assessment conducted by the Government of Japan, as requested by the Government of Japan. The United States has committed publicly to making all efforts to protect the environment in Japan, consistent with relevant laws and regulations. In the course of these efforts, we welcome dialog with concerned Non-governmental Organizations. We would like the statement to be added in the record.

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