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Too Much Waste Straining Japan’s Limited Landfill Space

If Japan continues to generate over 40 million tons of general waste per year, all of its landfills may be filled up in around 20 years. 

Shopping Bags in the Abyss: Addressing the Deep-Sea Plastic CrisisChiba Sanae

The discovery of plastic refuse in the darkest depths of the ocean illustrates the effects of human activities on even the most remote ecosystems on earth. Biological oceanographer Chiba Sanae describes what is happening thousands of meters under the sea.

Tapping into Nature: Three Innovators Connecting People to Japan’s Woodland EnvironmentsTakeda Yuri

Alongside my work as a radio news anchor, I am currently studying for a graduate degree in global environmental studies at Sophia University. In this article I introduce three people who are engaged in unique activities to protect and reinvigorate Japan’s woodland environments. I hope their stories will offer hints for engaging with these precious wooded ecosystems and ensure they are handed on to…

“Mottainai!” Japan Wastes Around 6.5 Million Tons of Food Per Year

Every day the average amount of food thrown out by a Japanese person could fill up an entire rice bowl. This food waste stands in contradiction to Japan’s low food self-sufficiency rate of 40%.

 Japan’s Forests: From Lumber Source to Beloved ResourceIshi Hiroyuki

The threat of a burgeoning forestry industry posed to destroy even such places as Shirakami-Sanchi and Yakushima—both later to become World Heritage Sites—triggered a powerful movement to save native forests. This movement was to mark a turning point in the relationship between the Japanese people and their forest lands.

Protecting the ForestsIshi Hiroyuki

More than two-thirds of Japanese territory is forestland. This has fostered a culture of reverence and appreciation for forests and trees. Presented here is an overview of the history of forest conservation in Japan.

Human-Animal Ties: Japanese Takes in Both Life and DeathIshi Hiroyuki

Animal graves and memorial markers are to be found throughout Japan, a reflection of a Japanese sensibility that does not distinguish between humans and animals but perceives both as equal elements of nature.

Japanese Perceptions of LifeIshi Hiroyuki

A complete examination of wildlife in Japan must include consideration of the Japanese people’s views of the fauna. In this article, Ishi Hiroyuki examines Japanese attitudes towards animals and the historical origins of those attitudes.

Seeking Balance with the BearIshi Hiroyuki

The Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) has vanished from the islands of Shikoku and Kyūshū in southwestern Japan, but on the main island of Honshū they remain plentiful and in some areas pose a serious threat to farm crops and human life. We see here a conflict between humans and wildlife that runs deeper than the simple dichotomy of hunting and preservation.

Rebellion of the WildIshi Hiroyuki

So far, this series has focused on wild bird species and their recovery from near-extinction. But protection can at times go too far, upending the natural balance and sending animal populations to dangerous levels. Japan’s deer offer a prime example of this.

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