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Today in Japan, one and a half years after the COP-10 meeting, there are considerably fewer occasions where biodiversity becomes the topic of conversation. This paper analyzes the current state of biodiversity in Japan, the issues involved, and the reasons for a low level of social recognition of biodiversity and then shows not only the rationale behind the assertion that biodiversity, whose importance is still increasing, should be a main concern in environmental issues, but also key points in promoting discussions on biodiversity.
Though biodiversity is difficult to define and is a complex topic with many research problems to be solved, it is an important issue that is relevant to our daily lives and has a wide-ranging influence. In fact, Japan faces serious problems such as damage to ecosystems, loss of wild plants and animals, and deterioration of ecosystem services, which are caused by reduced levels of use and management of ecosystems and the spread of exotic species. Against the backdrop of these problems, private-sector companies and local governments are making efforts centering on biodiversity protection. However, such efforts are not sufficient in many respects to become full-fledged social efforts for biodiversity due to some discrepancies between the real problems and the actions that are actually taken, and due to delays in developing systems for implementing conservation measures.
To solve these problems and to make the realization of biodiversity a main social issue, it is necessary to build a social framework that will induce wide-ranging conservation activities in various regions and to accumulate knowledge on the mechanism of biodiversity and on relevant assessment methods from the standpoint of both natural and social sciences. At the same time, the concept of biodiversity should be integrated into corporate and government activities, with consideration given to steps taken in preventing global warming. Also, there must be a region that takes leadership in making certain the advent of an era of true biodiversity, and it is possible to consider that the Kansai region, for example, will play a role in disseminating solutions to biodiversity issues.