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The Return of the Crested IbisIshi Hiroyuki

Kin, Japan’s last crested ibis born in the wild, died in 2003. Her demise did not mean the extinction of the species, however, as researchers in China were successfully breeding other wild crested ibises that they had discovered earlier. This article explores the relationship between the Japanese people and the crested ibis, Nipponia nippon.
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Crane on the Rubbish Heap: The Challenges of Continuing ConservationIshi Hiroyuki

Hokkaidō now has the world’s largest population of red-crowned cranes, but this has also created a dilemma. While the birds are no longer endangered, they are proving a menace to farmers who complain that they are destroying their crops. Is there a way for the cranes and human beings to coexist?
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Work to Store Tainted Soil at Fukushima Facility Begins (News)

Fukushima (Jiji Press)—Japan's Environment Ministry started bringing tainted soil into one of the interim storage facilities for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture on October 28. Work teams carry contaminated soil into the interim storage facility via covered conveyor belt on October 20, 2017, in Ōkuma, Fukushima. (© Jiji) Soil generated from work to decontaminate areas hit by fallou…
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A Thousand Cranes Take FlightIshi Hiroyuki

The red-crowned crane has long been revered in Japan as an auspicious bird. Once the cranes could be found throughout the country, but overhunting in the early years of Japan’s modern era decimated their numbers until they disappeared altogether on the main island of Honshū. Fortunately, extensive conservation efforts have brought back the beloved bird from near extinction. Where at one point there were only 33 red-crowned cranes confirmed in Japan, there are now 1,800.
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Electric-Scooter-Sharing Service to Be Tested on Southern Japan Island (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 28 (Jiji Press)—Sumitomo Corp. said Thursday that it will test an electric scooter-sharing service on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture starting by the end of March next year. The Japanese trading house will carry out the test in a partnership with the Ishigaki city government. The sharing service is designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that are increasing in line wit…
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Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture: The World in Miniature

Filmmaker Sasaki Megumi’s latest work was seven years in the making. A Whale of a Tale is a documentary about the town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture, notorious for its annual dolphin slaughter. The film sheds new light not only on the controversy about Japan’s whaling program but also on the nature of the clashes and polarizations between different worldviews in recent years.
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The Recovery of the Short-Tailed Albatross: A Preservation Success StoryIshi Hiroyuki

Once believed to be extinct, the short-tailed albatross was rediscovered by meteorological observatory staff on the remote island of Torishima. The discovery set in motion extensive efforts to protect and preserve the species, led by a man who has dedicated his life to the project.
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The Short-Tailed Albatross: A Majestic Bird Driven to the Brink of ExtinctionIshi Hiroyuki

Its trusting nature and lack of agility on the ground has long made the albatross easy prey for humans. Whole colonies were once massacred for their soft down feathers, driving the species to near-extinction. The first of a set of articles on this bird looks at the early, disastrous history of its interaction with the Japanese.
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Team Making Gaza Garbage into Fuel Wins Japanese-Hosted Contest (News)

Gaza, Aug. 16 (Jiji Press)—A team that developed a device to produce biogas and liquid manure from garbage has won a business contest hosted by young Japanese people in the self-governing Palestinian territory of Gaza. The team, Ecohome, was awarded a prize of ¥500,000. In Gaza, how to dispose of garbage has been a serious social problem amid a shortage of landfill areas. The contest, the se…
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Minamata Treaty on Mercury Regulation Takes Effect (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 16 (Jiji Press)—The Minamata Convention on Mercury, a landmark international treaty designed to regulate the use and trading of the poisonous material, went into effect on Wednesday. Under the treaty, signatories will also take stronger measures against health hazards from mercury, which is still used chiefly for mining gold in developing countries. A total of 74 signatories, inc…
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