Water, Ecology, and Biodiversity

  1. Describe the issues (if any) that your country has with droughts, flooding, seasonal rains, storms etc.
    • It’s generally difficult to find any information about Japan having a drought; however, there is information available saying that Japan had a water shortage around the 1960s and lasted about 10 years
    • Though Japan doesn’t have frequent periods of water shortages, Japan relies heavily on imported goods from other nations (which includes food), which in turn rely on water to varying degrees for production; droughts therefore in other areas can significantly affect Japan in ways similar to a direct one
    • Japan on average gets hit by 20 to 30 storms each year
    • Earthquakes leave Japan susceptible to tsunamis; however, truly massive tsunamis are extremely rare, the exception being the 2011 Earthquake
    • Rainy season (along with the rest of Eastern Asia) occurs late Spring until early Summer
    • Mean amount of rainfall averages at about 1700 mm (greater than the 970 mm worldwide average)
    • Once again difficult to find specific statistics on floods in Japan; however, they are fairly common due to the nations annual heavy rainfall and frequent storm appearances with a particularly devastating flood having occurred recently earlier this September
    • There is additionally a typhoon season from around August to September

  1. Describe the water infrastructure of your nation in terms of sources of water, prevalence and type of water purification, and the prevalence and type of waste water treatment.
    • According to Gapminder, overall water access to improved water (including both urban and rural areas) has been consistently 100% since at least 1991.
    • Water for domestic use is mostly from surface water
    • Most rivers are small, making dams collect less water than most other worldwide
    • Yodo River is one of the largest water supplies in Japan, especially for Osaka
    • Alkaline Water Purification machines (Johkasou)
    • Johkasou Law – can be applied at household levels
    • Uses “sludge” for water purification/waste treatment (ask more about it later)
  2. Describe the water pollution issues your country faces.
    • Cadmium poisoning incident
    • OECD stated that water quality did not meet quality standards
  3. Describe the legal framework your country has with regard to water (pollution prevention, sanitation, etc.). Describe major specific water related laws, if any.
    • Water Pollution Control Law 1970
    • Basic Environmental Law (actual name)
    • Basic Environmental Plan (actual name)
    • Johkasou Law

  1. Is there anything not on this list that should be discussed about your nation with respect to water?
  2. Earthquake or Tsunami risk? Active volcanoes?

  • Japan is Biodiversity hotspot
  • Variety of climates and islands allow for biodiversity
  • (1603-1868) Hunting of animals were strictly controlled



  • Japanese Otter (still exist, but determined unsalvageable since 2012)
  • Japanese Sea Lion (1974)
  • Ryukryu Wood Pigeon
  • Crested Shelduck
  • more


  1. What ecosystems are present or prevalent?
  • Subtropical climate/forests in Okinawa (largest biodiversity hotspot in Japan)
  • Conifer forests in Northern Islands (Hokkaido)
  • Temperate Deciduous/Evergreen Forests in Mainland





  1. Issues with habitat loss?
  • Earthquake and tsunami damages destroyed many ecosystems
  • Debris, residual salt, and more damaged marshes and forests permanently
  • Rikuzentakata’s Miracle Pine Tree survived (temporarily), served as a memorial for the 2011 Earthquake
  • Nuclear pollution from power plant affected bird species such as Japanese swallows (included higher radioactive levels and birth defects)



  • “Japan’s geographical isolation, diverse topography and climate has supported a high level of biological diversity. About 200 mammal species have been identified in Japan, compared to 67 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, an area roughly similar in size. Over 700 bird species, including sub-species, have been recorded, again approximately double the number found in United Kingdom and Ireland”
  • “The three primary threats to Japan’s natural environments and wildlife are habitat loss and degradation, poorly-controlled hunting, and introduced species. Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation is undoubtedly the most serious threat to Japan’s wildlife and natural environments. There are two aspects to habitat loss in Japan: failure to protect habitats (through legislative measures and conservation management practice), and direct habitat destruction, such as deforestation, land reclamation and pollution.”
  • “However, little of the national park area in Japan is protected from environmentally detrimental development or human activity. The Natural Parks Law, which governs the management of these areas, does not preclude development, construction, or other human activities that may detrimentally impact on the parks’ environments. In fact, development of tourist facilities in national parks is explicitly encouraged by the Resort Law (1987). Furthermore, the designation of these areas as national parks in itself brings about environmentally damaging impacts as a consequence of high traffic volumes, excessive numbers of visitors, and the construction of tourist facilities and roads.”

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Catherine-Knight/3292/article.html (also mentions a bit about endangered species)




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