In July 2005, Shiretoko was designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Natural Heritage. It was appraised as remarkable for its unique eco-system with the world’s southern-most ice flows and the connection between the sea and land.
However, the scope of this eco-system isn’t limited to Shiretoko. It is almost identical to that in the Kurile Islands, which are to its north. Wildlife moving around and living in this area is abundant, including killer whales, Steller’s sea lion, members of the seal family and sea otters. Particularly, centered around Urupputo Island, approximately 3,500 sea otters sing the praises of life in the middle of the wilderness. With their increasing population, there has been an increase in reported sightings on Hokkaido’s Eastern coastline and from Spring in 2002, one sea otter has been living at Erimo.
The eco-system cannot be protected by just protecting breeding areas and wintering grounds. There is a need to sterically conserve, including wildlife’s migratory routes. However, with the rapid expansion of capitalism following the collapse of the Soviet Union, poaching and over fishing of marine resources such as crabs and sea urchins has escalated and the abundant eco-system is in rapid decline.
The Toki (Japanese ibis) and White stork have taught us that eco-system restoration requires significant time, labor and capital. Rather than commencing protective breeding once on the brink of extinction, it is extremely important that a global design towards conservation is pictured so as to not lose the abundant eco-system we currently have and that the steps towards the realization of this are definitely taken. We are at the point where we must turn the regular vocation of those living in the area into a sustainable form, concurrent to realizing co-existence with nature.
The World Conservation Union IUCN, which is the examination body for World Natural Heritages, in its ‘Technical evaluation report’ that it submitted to UNESCO and the Japanese Government when listing Shiretoko, it noted that ‘There are clear and apparent similarities between the environment and ecology in Shiretoko and the neighboring islands’ and recommended that ‘in the future, there may be the potential for development of these properties as a wider “World Heritage Peace Park”.’ We consider the recommendation to be more than an ideal and have thought about how we can realize this.
Towards the conservation of this eco-system with rare species, we have come to think that by expanding the Heritage’s area to the North as far as Urupputo Island, we can potentially realize conservation that includes the wildlifes’ migratory routes. This is because the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage considers it possible to list and expand into disputed territories where territorial claims are unresolved, provided the claimant countries agree to this.
We would like to undertake an information gathering and information provision project to spread the purpose of the listed Heritage expansion realization to more people. In addition, we would like to undertake educational work through seminars and symposiums, as well as spreading enlightenment work, through holding events and the establishment and operation of a website. Also, we strongly believe that by developing collaboration with more people with the same purpose, we will make a significant contribution to the public.
In closing, we decided to incorporate, as we thought that the optimum way to gain society’s trust was through undertaking activities as a Special Non Profit Organization.
２ History up to application
Through the Kurile Islands’ eco-system survey that was conducted by researchers of the NPO Corporation, The Marine Wildlife Center of Japan, within the system of "specialist exchange without visa" framework, it has become clear that a more abundant eco-system has been preserved than Shiretoko’s eco-system. However, the situation with wildlife becoming victim to poaching and over-fishing and fishing activity has gradually become evident. We have come to think that if these truths remain only known to researchers, then it will be difficult to protect the eco-system. However, the importance of bringing residents into the fray to create a ground swell of activity was brought home to us. So like-minded people started gathering and communicating with each other from around the Summer of 2005. We thought that in order to undertake activities towards the realization of our concept, the creation of an organization that could gain society’s trust was vital, so we decided it was essential that we create a Special Non Profit Organization. As a result, on 9 December, a general meeting was held, the necessary items were decided, and the Japan-Russia Peace Heritage Park Association came into being.
10 December 2007
Name: Sakae Gorai (Seal)
Special Non Profit Organization, Japan-Russia Peace Heritage Park Association
123 Utoro-kogen, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido
Non Profit Organization The Association for Japan-Russia Peace Park
On the 9th of December last year, local volunteers held an inaugural general
meeting in Nakashibetsu Hokkaido and applied to the Hokkaido Prefectural
Government for approval. Authenticated on the 26th February, its establishment
registration was finalized on the 13th of March. The Association overview
is as follows.
President: President Sakae Gorai was born in September 1936 and is 71 years old.
He is the former Shari Town mayor. Mr Gorai is known for his nature conservation
work such as ‘The Shiretoko 100 Square Meters Movement’ and having promoted
Shiretoko’s world heritage registration.
Office: 431-3 Chisho-cho, Rausu-cho Hokkaido 086-1836
Tel & Fax: 0153-88-2676
※Note: The domain is ‘sea otter’, the Campaign’s mascot.
Tokyo Office (provisional): The Mainichi Newspapers Corporation MOTTAINAI
1-1-1 Hitotsubashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8051
Fax: 03-3211-4077 Non Profit Organization The Marine Wildlife Center of Japan
Chairperson: Chairperson Noriyuki Otaishi was born in December 1940 and is 67 years old. He is an Honorary Professor at Hokkaido University, as well as the Chairperson of the Shiretoko World Heritage Site’s Scientific Committee. He is a former chairperson of The Mammalogical Society of Japan.