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Thursday, 12th June 2014
In General Japan News,

Japanese alps get UNESCO recognition

Japan's Southern Alps mountain range has been added to UNESCO's global list of biosphere reserves, the national government learned today (June 12th), which will ensure the eco parks will be preserved for generations to come under the organisation's protection.

The 302,474-hectare area straddles the Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka prefectures and is famed particularly for the Tadami beech forest, which attracts thousands of nature admirers every year.

Nagano governor Shuichi Abe was among those celebrating UNESCO's recognition.

"We believe this recognises the Southern Alps' rich nature, and that local people’s enthusiasm bore fruit," he commented. "We would like to work with local citizens to realise a region that deserves to be an eco park, reconciling ecological preservation and use."

The Tadami beech forests are of particular note as the communities living there experience a life according to tradition, chopping firewood for stoves and collecting mushrooms and edible wild plants for food. It is a life far from the neon lights of Tokyo.

Japan is also seeking to add 17,600 hectares to the Shiga Highlands biosphere reserve, bringing its total size to 30,000 hectares, but the ongoing meeting between the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has left the decision open.

The agency assigns biosphere reserve status to regions of outstanding natural beauty that exemplify the balance of human activity and nature. They are unrelated to UNESCO natural world heritage sites.

Other UNESCO biosphere reserves in Japan are Mount Hakusan in Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui and Gifu prefectures, Mount Odaigahara and Mount Omine in Mie and Nara prefectures, Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture and the Aya evergreen broadleaf forest in Miyazaki Prefecture.

Japan receives many tourists who are keen to witness the country's outstanding natural beauty, such as that of Mount Fuji and Mount Koya, as well as the bustling nature of its enormous cities.

Written by Mark Smith


Related news stories:
Japan hopes to add Fukuoka ancient monuments to UNESCO list (29th July 2015)
UNESCO supports heritage listing for Tokyo museum building (18th May 2016)
UNESCO to approve 33 Japanese festivals for heritage list (1st November 2016)
Japanese industrial sites added to UNESCO list (6th July 2015)