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This month’s column takes an intrepid look at efforts to expand protected areas in Japan and worldwide, areas that are essential to conserve biological diversity and mitigate natural disasters.

“Intrepid” because ecosystems are the backbone of food and water security, and with national security now such a sensitive topic here, I feel obliged to include a disclaimer, as follows, for the attention of Shigeru Ishiba, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party:

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