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Thursday, 4th June 2015
In General Japan News,

Latest wetland preservation certificates take Japan to most in Asia

The latest certificates of the preservation of wetlands were given out this week, with four being designated to sites in Japan.

Wetlands are assigned under an international treaty and the latest inclusions take the total number in Japan to 50 - more than any other country in Asia, reports the Japan Times.

Yoshigadaira, Hinuma, Higashiyoka and Hizen-Kashima are the latest wetlands to become Ramsar Convention-registered sites and join the ranks of some 2,200 recognised worldwide.

Wetlands are important areas of biodiversity that allow plant, animal and birdlife to flourish under specific conditions. Preserving them is vital to ensure the balanced ecosystem is retained.

Yoshigadaira can be found in the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in Gunma Prefecture and is classified as an intermediate moor.

Among the impressive sights in the area is the Yugama crater lake of Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, with its stunning milky blue water contrasting with the surrounding landscape.

When volcanic activity in the area is not too strong, visitors can hike to the lake, as well as enjoy the hot springs, known locally as onsen, nearby.

Lake Himuna in Ibaraki Prefecture is a strategic site for bluebills on their migratory route and is a popular place to watch sunsets.

Higashiyoka and Hizen-Kashima are also important for migratory birds and are situated on the coast of the Ariake Sea in Saga Prefecture.

Their proximity to the sea makes them tidal wetlands, which gives them an additional dimension when it comes to the wildlife they support.

The Ramsar Convention was adopted in 1971 when international parties signed up to it to ensure that wetland conservation was carried out.

It then came into effect in 1975 and the first Japanese site - the Kushiro wetlands - was announced in 1980.

The Kushuro International Wetlands Centre had a booth at the latest conference, which was held in the Uruguayan city of Punta del Este, to outline its nature restoration projects.