The Yamanashi Nichinichi (Daily) Newspaper reported on October 12th, 2012 a statement by Ministry of Environment official, Hitoshi Nakamura of the Southern Alps National Park region, that sounded as if attitudes in the Ministry have not changed since the 19th century when Japanese feudal government that exterminated wolves as savage varmints.
“The reintroduction of the wolves can threaten the lives of people and livestock and disrupt the current ecosystem balance.”
Mr. Nakamura’s ignorant comment indicates he has the “Little Red Riding-hood” syndrome, and shows no progress has been in the Ministry of Environment’s understanding about the habit of wolves and their importance in Japan’s ecosystem.
On April, 2012 the Japan Wolf Association (JWA) submitted a opinion to the Minister of Environment in Tokyo with 94,500 signatures collected from all over Japan demanding wolves be reintroduce into Japan. At the time, the person in charge of the Ministry responded, “we will study about wolves, then (maybe do something).”
We, the JWA, have responded by contacting Mr. Nakamura directly and asking him to, “Show us the proof on what ecosystems you are talking about.” He explained that his mention on wolves was not official, but personal, and a request has since been made for an official comment from the Environment Ministry. We in the meantime will wait for a response, but do not expect one anytime soon knowing that the ministry takes forever to finish their homework.
At this moment, it is prominent that forest ecosystems in Japan are progressively becoming more devastated and the mountain terrain like the South Alps National Park is disappearing from an overabundant deer population. Countless damages to agriculture and forestry businesses can also be seen due to the eruption in numbers of wild boars and monkeys too.
We would like to ask the Environment Ministry how to control the deer population problem and save the ecosystem without restoring wolves. What kind of effective strategy is there besides a wolf reintroduction?
Mr. Nakamura gave the “Conservation of Nature” a bad name. The Officials at the Ministry of Environment have to stop sharing irresponsible opinions and should start studying about wolves’ habits, ecology and ecosystems.
(Oct. 29th 2012 Original article by Naoki Maruyama, translated by Mariko Sasaki)