- 14 Mar 2002
- Reaction score
The Japanese Ministry of the Environment has restricted tourist access to some sightseeing spots on Iriomotejima Island after the Takotomi Municipal Government proposed restrictions. Due to its extremely rare species of animals and plants, the island was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The restrictions are intended to help protect the natural environment. An official of the ministry's division responsible for promoting the use of national parks says the plan aims "not only to protect the primitive nature on the island but also to relieve congestion there to enable tourists to have a higher-quality experience.
Four ministries, including the Environment Ministry, approved the comprehensive plan for eco-tourism promotion on Iriomotejima island. The plan divides the island into three zones. Under the plan, most of the area on the island that was designated as a World Heritage site will be called the Conservation Zone. Generally, tourists will not be allowed to enter that zone. The Nature Experience Zone includes rivers or roads in the area designated as a World Heritage site and the sea outside the area. Tourists will be allowed to enter the zone, but they will be required to observe certain rules. Five sightseeing spots in the Nature Experience Zone will be deemed nature tourism resources, for which a daily tourist entry cap will be introduced. Other areas of the island, with places such as pineapple farms or restaurants, will be called the General Use Zone, where there will be no special rules for entrance.