Supporting the AKAYA Project in Japan
Since 2005, the Nikon Group in Japan has been supporting the AKAYA Project, which aims to restore biodiversity and build a sustainable regional community.
The focus of this project is the Akaya Forest, a 10,000-hectare National Forest that is located mainly within Minakami Township in Gunma prefecture, but extends into Niigata prefecture. This project involves a range of activities being implemented jointly by the government, local residents and The Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J), using scientific, empirical forest-restoration techniques to restore biodiversity.
Starting in 2014 measures have been implemented to improve the habitat of the critically-endangered Japanese Golden Eagle. The Nikon Group has donated binoculars and digital cameras which are being used for monitoring the behavior of the Golden Eagle.Furthermore, from the year ended March 31, 2018, employees began volunteer work to restore the natural forests. In addition, Nikon has started new tests utilizing Nikon Group's image recognition technology.
Investigation of Golden Eagle Behavior in the Forest with Rich Biodiversity
The Akaya Forest is a habitat for animals regarded as both rare and umbrella species, including the golden eagle, mountain hawk-eagle, and Asian black bear. As part of the AKAYA Project, since 2014 an experiment has been conducted, the first of its kind in Japan, with the aim of improving the habitat of the golden eagle (Japanese golden eagle, designated Endangered IB) in the forest. This initiative requires that individual golden eagles over a kilometer away be identified and their activities recorded, and Nikon binoculars, field scopes, and digital cameras are put to use for this purpose. In 2016, golden eagles living in Akaya Forest bred successfully for the first time in seven years, and valuable records were able to be made accordingly.
Akaya Forest Castanet Workshop
Nikon is holding AKAYA Forest Castanets workshops to help raise awareness of the forest's biodiversity. In the year ended March 31, this workshop was held at the Mito City Environment Fair 2018 and at a Minato Eco-Conscious Consortium event in Minato City, Tokyo. Part of the proceeds from the sales of these castanets, made from fallen trees and lumber from thinning, are being used to help fund the AKAYA Project.
Planning and Creation of "AKAYA NOTE"
"AKAYA NOTE" is an educational booklet on the environment which presents the biodiversity of Akaya Forest through a variety of stories and an abundance of photographs and illustrations. Nikon planned and created the booklet in cooperation with people involved in the AKAYA Project.
As children read the booklet, they learn about the mechanisms of the natural world and their roles. They also gradually come to understand the importance of biodiversity while enjoying a variety of stories which occurred in Akaya Forest as well as fun and amazing facts about animals.
To date, some 7,000 "AKAYA NOTE" booklets have been delivered to educational institutions.