“People, Wetlands and Wildlife” uses the medium of the Web to introduce Japan’s rich biodiversity, in particular wildlife, to foreign (‘inbound’) tourists and long-term foreign residents of Japan. Focusing on the Ramsar sites, information will be disseminated regarding how Japanese people live in harmony with wildlife, practice wise use, and participate in nature conservation activities. Our goal is to invite as many inbound tourists as possible to regions all over Japan.

The long and narrow Japanese archipelago that stretches from North to South is composed of over 6000 Islands. Japan has 4 distinct seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) and has many varied ecosystems and abundant biodiversity, with 160 species of mammals, 700 species of birds, 4200 species of fish, and over 30,000 species of insects, which include many endemic species.

The reason that Japan has been able to retain its rich biodiversity despite its rapid economic development is that instead of ‘protection’ or ‘management’, a culture of living together with wildlife as companions has deep roots in Japanese culture. For example, while there are 52 Ramsar sites in Japan, the majority are located near human settlements. Japanese people have a long tradition of conducting their everyday lives in harmony and coexistence with wetland ecosystems.

The rapid increase in inbound tourists means that the “Japan that lives in harmony with wildlife and nature” will no doubt be highly attractive to many foreign visitors. However, interaction with wildlife requires sufficient information and appropriate ‘interpretation’.

In this website, Reiko Nakamura, the first Japanese citizen to be awarded the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award, and James McGill, a 32-year resident of Japan and business consultant, will serve as ‘interpreters’ of Japan’s abundant nature and wildlife and the daily lives of the people living near the Ramsar sites.

We hope that based on the information provided in this website the number of inbound tourists who like Japan’s nature, culture and people will increase.