Ornaments made from elephant tusks are popular in China. (Provided by Lucy Vigne)
Illegal ivory trade 'out of control' due to Chinese demand, group says
NAIROBI--A Kenya-based animal protection group said wild elephants could disappear within the next generation unless the Chinese government takes immediate steps to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.
The Asahi Shimbun
Much less snow likely in Japan if climate change continues
Annual snowfall will drop markedly across most of Japan by the turn of the century if global warming continues, a study shows.
Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki speaks during a Dec. 10 ministerial meeting of the 20th Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima. (Keisuke Katori)
Time running out for Japan to declare emissions cut target beyond 2020
LIMA--A familiar refrain was heard at a ministerial meeting of a United Nations climate change convention here, with Japan unable to state its greenhouse gas reduction target beyond 2020.
Japan Coast Guard officers search a Chinese fishing boat in waters off Kagoshima Prefecture on Nov. 17. (Provided by the 10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters)
Chinese coral poachers rife in western Japan; international rules urged
Although the Japan Coast Guard has recently been taking tougher measures to thwart coral poachers off the Ogasawara island chain south of Tokyo, the problem remains unresolved.
A thermal power plant in Yokohama (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Thermal power reliance pushes Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions to record high
Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in fiscal 2013, as the nation’s reliance on thermal power generation increased in the absence of nuclear power, the Environment Ministry said.
A whaling ship leaves Shimonoseki Port in Yamaguchi Prefecture for the Antarctic Ocean in 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan plans new Antarctic whale hunt, but vows to slash quota
Japan on Nov. 18 unveiled plans to resume whale hunting in the Southern Ocean despite an international court ruling that previous hunts were illegal, but said it would slash the quota for the so-called scientific whaling program.
A new biofuel made by a research team at Mie University uses damaged or rotting oranges. (Provided by a team of researchers at Mie University)
Mie University researchers convert discarded oranges into 'juiced-up' biofuel
TSU, Mie Prefecture--Scientists at Mie University here have developed a biofuel from unmarketable oranges and waste left over after making orange juice that may put the squeeze on existing bioethanol as a more efficient and less-corrosive fuel blend.
The venomous redback spider is indigenous to Australia. (Provided by the land ministry)
Japan targets 424 dangerous invasive species for elimination
Venomous redback spiders are among 424 nonnative species targeted for extermination in Japan under a planned new designation for alien threats against indigenous species and human health.
Swans take flight from Lake Hyoko in Agano, Niigata Prefecture, on the morning of Nov. 6. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)
PHOTO: Niigata swan lake show heralds onset of winter
AGANO, Niigata Prefecture--Amid a drop in temperatures indicating the arrival of winter, a bevy of swans was seen splashing on a lake here in the morning mist on Nov. 6.
Rental bicycles at JR Omiya Station in Saitama. Bicycles are transported by truck to adjust the number at each outlet. (Teru Okumura)
Getting around on two wheels: Good for the environment, good for health
SAITAMA--Pedal power is winning cohorts as "community cycle" programs spread across Japan, leaving no carbon footprint.
A loggerhead sea turtle (Provided by the Sea Turtle Association of Japan)
Ministry stepping in as concerns mount over animals feeding on sea turtle eggs
Environment Ministry officials will launch a nationwide study to look into disturbing reports of animals such as wild boars and raccoon dogs eating the buried eggs of endangered sea turtles.
A dead tree 14 meters below the surface in Lake Mashuko is estimated to have remained there for more than three decades. The amount of bacteria in the lake is so small that the breakdown process has not proceeded. (Kotaro Ebara)
Global warming, alien fish staining Japan's clearest lake
TESHIKAGA, Hokkaido--Lake Mashuko had long been a source of pride in this industrialized nation as the clearest and cleanest lake in the world. But the effects of global warming and an alien species have clouded that distinction, researchers said.
Solar panels installed on the roof of a church in Setagaya Ward by Setagaya Energy for All, a citizen-generated power group in Tokyo (Toru Ishii)
Tokyo in the spotlight as citizen groups start generating solar power
In the new world of alternative energy sources, Tokyo is about to have its day in the sun.
Farmers harvest Japanese eels from an aquaculture pond in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. (Yosuke Watanabe)
Japan, China, Taiwan, S. Korea agree to cut eel procurement by 20%
Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea have agreed to set limits on the amount of glass eels that can be procured by eel farmers to prevent overfishing of the fry eels, which are used in eel farming.
“Okawariginchaku” sea anemones spread their tentacles on the seafloor off Minabe, Wakayama Prefecture. (Yoshiko Sato)
Cute sea anemones that glow in yellow decreasing sharply off Wakayama
MINABE, Wakayama Prefecture--Popular among divers, an extremely rare sea anemone species that emits a glowing yellow light is rapidly disappearing off the coast here, forcing the government to consider protection measures.
A young golden eagle with one of its parents in the Kamuro Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture (Provided by Tadashi Imai)
Decline in forestry industry blamed for falling survival rates of golden eagles
AKITA--The survival rate of Japanese golden eagle chicks has been halved over the past 30 years because the forestry industry’s decline has affected the hunting grounds of the endangered species, environmental experts say.
Members of the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society hoist a banner and observe fishing boats at Taiji port in Wakayama Prefecture on Aug. 1. (Yummin Son)
Tensions running high as annual dolphin hunt starts in Taiji
TAIJI, Wakayama Prefecture--This coastal community’s annual dolphin hunt kicked off Sept. 1, and foreign anti-whaling activists were out in force to protest the slaughter as dozens of police officers stood by to keep the peace.
Stalagmites containing coral fragments in a limestone cave on Nagashima island in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture (Satoru Sekiguchi)
Rare coral-encrusted stalagmites discovered near proposed air base relocation site
NAGO, Okinawa Prefecture--Researchers have found rare stalagmites containing coral fragments in a cave off Cape Henoko, where the government plans to relocate an air base from another part of this southernmost prefecture.
Crown-of-thorns starfish prey on corals in waters off Kushima, Miyazaki Prefecture. (Provided by Hironobu Fukami)
Pesky starfish that preys on corals gets new life as veggie fertilizer
KUSHIMA, Miyazaki Prefecture--In the waters off the Nichinan coast in southern Kyushu, the crown-of-thorns starfish has become an unwelcome pest.
The Asahi Shimbun
Global warming blamed for shrinking Ayu trout
Master angler Jiro Shirataki is puzzled that the average size of his catches of tasty "ayu" trout have become “noticeably smaller than before.”

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