Ministry designation will help Kerama become an important tourist destination, attract tourists from abroad

Ministry designation will help Kerama become an important tourist destination, attract tourists from abroad

The Kerama Islands, which have been designated a Quasi-National Park. The ocean is a striking shade of blue, sometimes called “Kerama blue.” (Photograph taken July 28, 2014)


July 26, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 25, as part of a project it will embark on with the objective of drawing foreign tourists to Japan’s regional areas, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) determined a policy to brand Zamami and Tokashiki Villages in the Kerama Islands as a national park, and to promote the maintenance of an environment that is inviting to visitors and the transmission of relevant information internationally. The designation as a national park is part of a “National Park Enjoyment Project” being progressed by the MOE. At a meeting of experts held on July 25, eight locations, including the Kerama Islands, were decided upon as targets for national park designation from a list of 32 locations nationwide.

Now that the designation has been decided, talks will be held between the relevant ministries and agencies and local government bodies, and guide training and town planning will be implemented. On July 20, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, Zamami Village Mayor Tetsu Miyazato, and Tokashiki Village Mayor Yoshikatsu Matsumoto requested that the islands be designated.

 Colorful tropical fish swim in the waters around the Kerama Islands, which are home to spectacular coral reefs. (September 5, 2013, sea around Kerama Village’s Aka Island, depth of approximately five meters)

Colorful tropical fish swim in the waters around the Kerama Islands, which are home to spectacular coral reefs. (September 5, 2013, sea around Kerama Village’s Aka Island, depth of approximately five meters)


Regarding the designation, Zamami Mayor Miyazato said, “I have worked to have [the village] designated as a model zone for the project, so I am very glad. I will continue to work to think of ways to help visitors from abroad enjoy their stay here, while also working to conserve the environment.” Tokashiki Mayor Matsumoto said, “I will work to strengthen our capacity to accept tourists, establish and maintain tourist attractions in the village, and establish capacity to accommodate many languages for tourists from abroad. I hope we can form a committee together with representatives from Zamami Village to consider [ways to make it happen].”

Governor Takeshi Onaga commented, “I am very pleased. I want to work together with leaders in Zamami and Tokashiki Villages to move the project forward concretely.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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