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The half-day workshop in Japan was held in Tokyo, with around 40 participants attending, many from the ministries and also from IUCN-J and other protected areas experts. The meeting was conducted in Japanese and co-hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Japan Wildlife Research Centre and UNEP-WCMC. The meeting focused on the need to update the WDPA, and providing information on the WDPA and its data standards, including the IUCN Protected Areas Management Category system. There is a large data gap between the WDPA and Japan's national data. UNEP-WCMC, the Ministry of Environment and IUCN-J aim to facilitate further work with the support of other ministries on collating data, applying standards and providing updates to the WDPA.
Regularly updating the WDPA: there is a need for Japan to decide on a coordinating agency (posibbly the Ministry of Environment) and how often it will need to submit updates to the WDPA (biannual/annual).
Common language: participants recognised the need for a common language on protected areas and that uniform interpretation of protected areas is important through the IUCN standards – however there were concerns over both time and cost implications.
Zoning: many of the PAs in Japan have zones within them – this poses a challenge for applying the IUCN categories and for updating the WDPA. There are also multiple multi-part protected areas, but these can be stored in the WDPA.
Permission agreement: there was some confusion over whether the WDPA data contributor agreement is a legal document (partly due to translation issues) and who should sign this. It was stated that it should be those with ownership of the data that should sign the WDPA data contributor agreement that states that permission is given for the data to be in WDPA.
Applying the IUCN definition of a protected area: there are multiple types of protected areas in Japan, and it has to be decided which protected areas meet the IUCN definition, as only those meeting this definition can be included in the WDPA. The types of protected areas for consideration include sites with cultural elements, water springs, and urban parks with nature conservation areas within them.
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