Science Council of Japan suggests setting up national natural history museums in Okinawa and Tohoku

November 27, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 26, the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) proposed a plan to set up national natural history museums in Okinawa and Tohoku. The museums will be hubs for the study of natural history, and will continually collect and preserve artefacts such as fossil remains. The SCJ has included the plan in the master plan for a large-scale academic research project it will propose to the central government.

Currently, the National Museum of Nature and Science is the only hub for natural history studies in Japan. As the Great East Japan Earthquake hit museums located in the Tohoku area, the government acknowledged the need to spread the museums across different regions. To support earthquake disaster reconstruction, they have chosen Tohoku. Okinawa has been chosen for its biodiversity.

Keiichi Matsuura, an emeritus researcher at the National Museum of Nature and Science, who took part in designing the plan, said, “Okinawa is abundant with marine life and biodiversity, which we have attached a high value to. We think the prefecture is favorably situated.” Akihiro Takemura, professor at the University of the Ryukyus said, “There are few researchers and staff who are involved in academia related to natural history in Okinawa. I think the plan could contribute to human resource development.”

The plan also suggests setting up a “research center for biodiversity in international coral reef waters,” which would be equipped with a research museum and a large-scale field experiment facility.

(English translation by T&CT)

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