The National Park System was founded by the National Park Act in 1931 with the objectives of the nature conservation and the use of National Parks; however, it was unclear which factor should be given emphasis. The National Park System was maintained under a poor management structure with a limited budget. Under such a national park system, the government authorized construction of a hydro power station which was demanded by the growing industries within the national parks without considering a policy for the conservation of the important natural resources. The Nature Park Act was established in 1957; however, this act did not include any new regulations with regard to the conservation of nature, and it merely superseded the 1931 Act. The government had actively developed the national parks for tourism. This meant that the use of national parks had increased rapidly, which caused the destruction of important natural features and pollution to the environment due to overuse. The government did not regulate an effective policy for the conservation of nature and the environment. This poor national park system is in great need of reformation to a system that has plentiful financial resources and an effective management structure.
The Japanese National Park System currently faces problems with biodiversity conservation, overuse control, and collaborative management. This paper examines issues in park planning and the management of Japanese National Parks, using the case study of the trail maintenance guideline and the management of other facilities in Daisetsuzan National Park, Central Hokkaido, Japan. We found limited recognition of the trail maintenance guideline, a lack of social scientific data, a lack of facility-development standards and risk management, concerning about management of human resources and budget, and little discussion of fees. The park-planning process should include zoning of visitor experiences and should introduce the concept of carrying capacity. We also pointed out the need for revision of the current zoning system, which has been controlled by the intentions of landowners, to allow biodiversity conservation and to control overuse, and the necessity of social scientific monitoring and human resource development based on the social sciences.
As legal instruments which regulates the geothermal development performed in a nature park, there are hot spring drilling permission based on Hot Spring Act, permit system and notification system of acts of development in Natural Parks Act. It is difficult to implement the hot spring drilling permission system in Hot Spring Act to eliminate negative impacts from drilling preventively. Moreover, the restrictions on development of Natural Parks Act, The geothermal energy development in natural parks are likely to be promoted from now on because the high economic value of the geothermal development can possibly be considered as having public benefit and the regulatory effect of notification system is very limited. On the other hand, the uncertain impact which geothermal development may potentially have can be revealed by monitoring before geothermal development starts. Since no such advance monitoring system exists under above mentioned acts, it is imperative to implement such a system. Moreover, although this paper argues a nature park are a kind of public land (domaine publique), it should be noted that there are special characteristics in the management of natural parks exceeding the concept of traditional public land management which includes management concerning maintenance and preservation, and physical use of a public facilities.
Japanese Shorthorn Cattle have been raised in pasture lands managed by cooperatives in Kitakami highlands in Iwate. Such pasture lands keep decreasing while multiple function on natural pasture is re-evaluated. This study aims at understanding how the management of the cooperatives influenced changes of pasture land management had changed. Due to Pasture Land Development during the period of the 1960s to the 1980s, the cooperatives in Okawa region shifted to intensive pasture land management. As a result, the productivity was increased, but so was the management cost. In 1991, beef imports were liberalized, and the number of the cooperative members and cattle decreased. Then the cooperatives reduced the area of the pasture land. Increased cost made the cooperative management difficult. Since 2001, the Direct Payment System for Hilly and Mountainous Areas started, and the management of the cooperatives seemed to become stable. After the 1990s, the cooperatives reduced the area of the pasture land and sought intensive management, but cost remains large. It is now necessary to examine sustainable pasture land management including a natural and extensive system.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the current process of establishing municipal forest plans under the new Forest Law of Japan, revised in 2011. According to the Forest and Forestry Restructuring Plan, introduced with the revision of the Forest Law, municipalities are required to take a greater role in the planning system. In return for their efforts, each municipality can develop a plan proactively, according to its specific attributes. However, it has been pointed out that almost all municipalities lack the manpower for planning. Thus, there are concerns about the practical effects of this systemic revision. To understand the current achievement of the reform and highlight the issues, the officials in charge of municipal forest plans from 46 municipalities in Hokkaido Prefecture were interviewed. The results show that officials exercise their autonomy and establish unique plans, at least to some degree, but basically they do not understand the exact intentions of the new system. Behind the scenes, in addition to the lack of manpower, differences between central and municipal governments in interpretation of the old and new systems and inconsistency between the new system and the unchanged subsidy system are revealed.