(Yanbaru Forest. Image: Japan Hotspot)
The Guardian's "Biodiversity 100: A campaign to compile a list of 100 tasks for world governments to undertake to tackle the biodiversity crisis" includes Okinawa:
Action: Preserve the biodiversity on Okinawa IslandOkinawa Island is the largest island in the subtropical Ryukyu chain off the south-western coast of mainland Japan – and has been described as "Japan's equivalent of Hawaii."
A U.S. war training base occupies a quarter of biodiverse Yanbaru forest on the northern tip of Okinawa. The U.S. military wants to build six V-22 Osprey aircraft helipads within two of the best-preserved areas in the forest, near Takae village. Takae residents have engaged in a sit-in since 2007 to protest the construction military heliports in Yanbaru Forest
Appropriate legislation for conserving this region should be established, and Tokyo should stop construction completely, if it wants to honor local democratic process as well as preserve biodiversity in Okinawa.
Evidence: Yanbaru's forests are the final stand for a number of threatened endemic species such as the critically endangered Okinawa spiny rat (Tokudaia muenninki), Noguchi's woodpecker (Dendrocopos noguchii) and Namiye's frog (Limnonectes namiyei).
Yanbaru's natural forests are critical habitat for many of Okinawa's native mammal and bird populations, but clearcutting and removal of undergrowth. A paper on the conservation value of the region warned of the "imminent extinction crisis among the endemic species of the Yanbaru forests."
Namiye's frog is an indigenous species of frog to Okinawa. It lives only in headwaters surrounded by mountains. (Image: Japan Hotspot)
See more photos of Yanbaru's animal and plant inhabitants at Japan Hotspot.
And for more information about citizens' efforts to save Takae village and Yanbaru Forest at these previous posts:
• Jon Mitchell reports on protests against proposed U.S. military Osprey heliport construction in Takae, an ecologically sensitive area of Okinawa"
• "Peaceful New Earth Celebration in Tokyo spotlights Okinawa, indigenous cultures, sustainability, and global networking"
• "Peace Not War Japan's Film/Live Music Festival Highlights Citizen Movements: Mt. Takao, Okinawa's Yanbaru Forest, Iraqi Refugees in Jordan"
• "Takae Village Sit-In Protest against US Helipads in Pristine Yanbaru Forest, Okinawa"
Originally posted on Oct. 27, 2010