Saturday, 5 to Sunday, 6 December 1998 Fukiage Hall, Nagoya City, Japan

A growing number of people now understand the value of wetlands. An international wetland symposium will be held in Nagoya, where controversy over a local wetland continues to rage. UMEHARA Takeshi will be the keynote speaker at a special session open to the public on Sunday the 6th. Mr. Umehara is a well-known philosopher in Japan, and has often expressed opinions on social issues that follow from his discourses on relations between Japanese culture and nature.
The symposium will be an opportunity to discuss the meaning of wetlands through a multilateral approach, with reports from wetlands at stake in Japan and by guest speakers from overseas. Other events include a speech by YAMASHITA Hirofumi, Asian Goldman Environment Prize winner of 1998. Mr. Yamashita is a devoted activist fighting for the conservation of Isahaya Bay, which was closed from the sea last April. There will also be a panel discussion and a Night Tour to observe Fujimae Tidal Flat, the object of wetland controversy in Nagoya.
The international focus of the Symposium will be the 7th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands coming up in Costa Rica next May. Guest speakers will include Constance HUNT of World Wildlife Fund in the United States, Melissa Marin of Friends of the Earth Costa Rica, and Professors Koh Chul-Hwan and Lee Insik from South Korea.


First Day, Saturday, 5 December
International Wetland Symposium Part I 13:30 - 17:30 Conference Room No. 3, 4th Floor, Fukiage Hall
- Keynote Lecture Yamashita Hirofumi "Japan's Wetlands as Seen From Isahaya Bay"
- Looking Towards the Costa Rica Ramsar Conference of the Parties
- Report on the State of Japan's Wetlands (Fujimae, Sanbanze, Sone, Wajiro, Yoshino River)
- Report on the State of Korea's Wetlands
(Koh Chul-Hwan, Seoul National University and
Lee Insik Ma-Chang Federation of Environmental Movements)
- The International Ramsar NGO Network & US Ramsar National Committee
(Constance Hunt, WWF-US & US Ramsar National Committee Chair)
- State of preparation for the Costa Rica CoP by local NGOs,
(Melissa Marin, FoE Costa Rica / NGO Forum Organizing Committee)
(Admission Free, but Printed Information relevant to Parts I & II will be on sale).

Exchange Party 18:00 - 19:00 Fukiage Restaurant, 1st Floor, Fukiage Hall

Fujimae Night Watch 22:00 - 01:00

Second Day, Sunday, 6 December
International Wetland Symposium Part II Conference Room No. 3, 4th Floor, Fukiage Hall
Presentations & Discussion - How to Conserve Japan's Wetlands?
Admission Fee: Free (Printed Information on Sale)

Special Meeting Open to Public Sunday, 6 December: 13:30 - 16:00
Special Lecture - Umehara Takeshi (President, Japan Pen Club)
"Tidal Flats and Japanese Culture"
Questions to Umehara

Admission Fee for Part II only: \1,000 (reserved ticket) \1,500 (w/o reservation)
(A Panel Exhibition on Fujimae Tidal Flats will be held simultaneously: General Public Welcome).

Sponsored by: Japan Wetlands Action Network (JAWAN)
Co-Representatives: YAMASHITA Hirofumi, TSUJI Atsuo
Managed by: Save Fujimae Association
Representative: TSUJI Atsuo
Contacts: 1-29-1-211, Fukiage, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Japan
Ph/Fax: +81-52-735-0106 (Yoshida) or +81-52-712-5528 (Ito)
In English: KASHIWAGI Minoru Tel/Fax: +81-42-583-6365 E-mail:
Tokyo Office, Japan Wetlands Action Network (JAWAN)
3-18-1 #105, Higashi-Toyoda, Hino-shi, Tokyo 191,JAPAN


The Japan Wetlands Action Network (JAWAN) hopes to make the policy of the Japanese government on conservation of our tidal flats one of the themes of top importance during the 7th Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Costa Rica, May 1999.

In Kushiro, Japan, 1993, protection of tidal flats on the East Asian Flyway, which includes Japan, was recommended by the Fifth Conference of Parties. However, since then, four of the most important Japanese tidal flats have been victimized by public works projects one after the other. The first to be targeted just after the 5th CoP 5 was Wajiro Tidal Flat in Fukuoka, where construction of an artificial island right in front of the tidal flat started in 1996. Next came Isahaya Bay.

The visual news report of 273 iron plates that fell like "guillotines" to close off 3,500 hectares of Isahaya's fertile tidal flats had a strong impact, and not only on the Japanese public. People around the world were shocked to see a tidal flat of international importance closed off from the sea. A feeling of distrust arose towards a system that could allow such foolish destruction. And now, the environmental impact assessment for Nagoya City's plan to dump garbage on the largest remaining staging ground for migratory shorebirds in Japan, Fujimae [pronounced as foo-jee-ma-eh] has reached a critical stage.

At the same time, in Tokyo Bay, the last remaining area of shallow water known as the Sanbanze, that nurtures and supports life in the bay and in the outer ocean, faces the implementation of a port development project.

Above all, it is the problem of Fujimae tidal flat symbolizes the serious and universal problem created by mass-production and mass consumption resulting from industrialisation. This project will irreversibly destroy an indispensable environment through the agent of tons of garbage produced by our modern lifestyle of "use-it-and-throw-it-away."

However, the government of Nagoya City has not made any sincere effort to take positive measures toward a fundamental solution, in spite of the conclusion of the environmental impact assessment that the impact of the project on the natural environment is obvious. Instead, It is forcing through procedures to implement the project, without duly endeavoring to avoid impacts or even a conduct surveys on mitigation measures. One result has been Increased distrust in the Japanese system of EIA, as Daniel Beard of the National Audubon Society of the US (and former Director General of the US Rivers Development Bureau) said, "It is beyond comprehension.

Where has the tradition of the oriental culture gone, in which people lived in harmony with nature? Where are the hearts of Japanese people, who used to revere a delicate concern and care for others? The Ramsar convention will lose its credibility if its last Conference of the Parties in the 20th century cannot bring about any progress in the actual conservation and wise use of tidal flats in Japan.

The International Wetland Symposium '98 at Fujimae will be an opportunity to answer questions directed towards the CoP7 in Costa Rica: How can we Japanese keep our wetlands? How do we recapture our hearts now lost, as symbolised by the present situation? How do we live through the next century with the people of the world and with fellow living things of the planet earth?
We eagerly appeal for your participation and support.

Japan Wetlands Action Network


Some JAWAN member groups are sponsoring field trips for overseas Symposium speakers before the event Dec. 5-6. If you wish to participate, please let us know at the contact addresses below (English or Japanese OK).

Dec. 2nd: Tokyo Bay (sponsoring group - Sanbanze Signature Collection Network)
Sanbanze Tidal Flat (Site of port development plan)
Yatsu Tidal Flat (Japan's only tidal flat Ramsar site)

Dec. 3rd Ariake Sea (sponsoring group - Isahaya Bay Emergency Rescue Task Force)
Isahaya Bay (ex-largest tidal flat in Japan, cut off from the sea April 1997)

Dec. 4th Ise Bay (sponsoring group - Save Fujimae Association)
Fujimae Tidal Flat (remnant tidal flat supporting the largest number of shorebirds in Japan)

JAWAN Tokyo Office
Kashiwagi Minoru
Tel/fax: 042-583-6365

JAWAN International Liaison
Maggie Suzuki
Tel: 0879-33-6763
Fax: 0879-33-6762

Itoh Yoshino (in Kyushu)
Tel/fax: 0940-43-0374

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