Japan’s Booming, Nature-Filled Biodiversity Protection Site

– Japan’s devastated nuclear power plant has fallen under the protection of a wildlife sanctuary in the hopes that the predators will help decommission it. The area is home to endangered animals, including the…

Japan's Booming, Nature-Filled Biodiversity Protection Site

– Japan’s devastated nuclear power plant has fallen under the protection of a wildlife sanctuary in the hopes that the predators will help decommission it.

The area is home to endangered animals, including the Emperor Ramen raccoon, a wide-ranging marsupial described as “ubiquitous” and “irreplaceable.”

The kangaroo antelope, Qurena, is also “essential to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the area,” according to the Japan Ground and Water Exploration Agency, which operates the Goninihama (Wonder) Wildlife Sanctuary.

“For these kangaroos, the protection of their habitat was important in order to reduce damage from climate change and other environmental degradation,” the agency said in a statement.

The sanctuary, located in the Fukushima Prefecture, is an “environmental reserve” designed to “protect wildlife and nature from the natural effects of industrial activities by conducting conservation studies and helping the environment become healthy again.”

The forest is still littered with more than 1.35 million cubic meters of radioactive soil, water and debris from the tragedy.

First, natural disasters caused a tsunami that wiped out entire communities and then the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was overwhelmed by an explosion in March 2011. This led to nuclear meltdowns and radiation leaks.

Some 26,700 workers still attempt to stabilise the plant, which needs approximately $270 billion of repairs. As it stands, the nuclear plant will be shut down by 2024.

The impending closure of the nuclear facility has long been used by the government as an excuse to increase its farm subsidies and push more agricultural production.

In March 2017, Japan raised compensation for Fukushima disaster victims to around $27 billion.

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