Opinion Calling for Actions Including Legislating for the Proper Management of Important Wetlands Toward Achieving the Conservation and Restoration Thereof
May 12, 2023
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (the “JFBA”) compiled its “Opinion Calling for Actions Including Legislating For the Proper Management of Important Wetlands Toward Achieving the Conservation and Restoration Thereof” dated May 12, 2023, and submitted it on May 15, 2023 to the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, the National Governors’ Association, the Japan Association of City Mayors, and the National Association of Towns and Villages.
Summary of Proposal
The JFBA calls for the government to do the following:
1. Enacting legislation containing the following outline to ensure the proper management of wetlands of importance in conserving biodiversity selected by the Ministry of the Environment (“Important Wetlands”) and any other wetlands equivalent thereto (those which are not currently selected as Important Wetlands but have important value in conserving biodiversity, such as those which have been found to meet “common selection criteria” for the selection of Important Wetlands in recent research and surveys) shall be created towards achieving the conservation and restoration of such wetlands.
- (1)Establishing a protection area system in order to conserve Important Wetlands and any other wetlands equivalent thereto.
- (2) Providing an in-principle prohibition on damage to Important Wetlands and any other wetlands equivalent thereto.
- (3) Dealing with the impact of development activities on wetlands through mitigation measures for conservation by avoiding, minimizing or compensating the same, in this order of priority.
- (4) Introducing a management plan system regarding wetlands to carry out their conservation and restoration in an integrated manner based on ecological knowledge.
- (5) Including a participation system of environmental conservation groups and residents for the conservation and restoration of wetlands.
2. The current situation surrounding wetlands suggests that the environmental deterioration of wetlands will continue during the period of time spent to enact the legislation proposed in section 1 above. As a measure to be taken for the conservation and restoration of wetlands during this period, the registration of at least the Important Wetlands as Ramsar Sites under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (commonly known as the Ramsar Convention), should be actively promoted and supported in cooperation with local governments.