5 December 1997
The Honorable Viktor Ivanovich Danilov-Danilyan,
Minister of Protection of the Environment and National Resources,
The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright,
Secretary of State.
Senator the Honorable Robert Hill,
Leader of the Government in the Senate,
Minister for the Environment,
Dear Mr. Danilov-Danilyan / Ms. Albright / Senator Hill;
Of the 12 regions in Japan identified on September 8 by Japan's Environment Agency as containing important staging and wintering sites for shorebirds, we have identified at least six which face major threats from public works projects which will eliminate or drastically curtail their value as shorebird habitat.
Though we commend the Environment Agency for publishing this inventory, we areforced to conclude that the government of Japan is knowingly disregarding theJapan-Russia Migratory Bird Convention which calls on both countries to "... make efforts to take appropriate measures to protect or restore the habitat of bird species [covered under the Convention]." (Russia) / the Japan - United States Migratory Bird Convention, which calls on both countries to "...endeavor to take appropriate measures to preseve and enhance the environment" and "prevent damage to such birds and their environment." (U.S.A.) / the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement which calls on both countries to "endeavour to take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment" and "prevent damage to such birds and their environment."(Australia)
A major national drive to establish mechanisms to re-evaluate public works projects is gaining momentum, and reached an unprecedented level after IsahayaBay was cut off from the sea in April this year. The Isahaya project is economically and technically unsound as well as being destructive to wildlife habitat and sustainable fisheries. A National Diet Members Association to Consider Isahaya Bay has been formed with over 90 members, and about 300,000signatures have been gathered on a national petition calling for review of the project.
We feel it's our duty to inform countries party to bilateral migratory bird agreements, specifically Australia, Russia and the United States of America, of the glaring contradiction in the Japanese government's recognition of Isahaya Bay as an important shorebird site and its refusal to review the project which is now destroying this site's value for shorebirds. It is relevant to note that Isahaya Bay is far from an isolated case, but is representative of a trend which is affecting many other sites used by shorebirds which breed in the Russian Far East and Alaska and winter in Australia.
We would like to know what your government is doing in order to encourage Japan to more carefully uphold its obligations to protect the migratory shorebirds that our countries share. Thank you for your attention
Representative, Japan Wetlands Action Network
c/o International Liaison Office
279-1 Kureha Hiketa-cho Okawa-gun
Kagawa-ken 769-29 Japan
Chairperson, World Wide Fund for Nature - Japan
3-1-14 Shiba, Akabanebashi Bldg. 6F
Minato-ku Tokyo 105 Japan
Nagahisa Kuroda, PhD.
President, Wild Bird Society of Japan
15-8 Nanpeidai-cho, Woody Bldg. 2F
Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150 Japan
The Honorable Hiroshi Ohki,
Director-General of the Environment Agency of Japan;
The Honorable Takehito Akiba,
Member of the House of Representative, National Diet of Japan
Senior Vice President, National Audubon Society (U.S.A.)
Wetlands International (Asia-Pacific) (Australia)