About 90 species of native wild birds are on sale in pet shops across the nation despite regulations forbidding their sale, the Wild Bird Society of Japan said Wednesday.

The species include endangered goshawks and falcons, society members said, adding that they are fetching prices of up to 350,000 yen.

The society surveyed retailers in 34 prefectures in May and found that about 180 stores, including 70 pet shops and 60 home centers, were selling about 2,500 wild birds in total.

The most prominent bird was the Japanese white eye, known for its beautiful singing, followed by Japanese buntings, according to the society.

While The Law Concerning Protection of Wildlife and Game prohibits hunting and breeding of all domestic wild birds except white eyes and buntings, the survey shows that many other species such as blue-and-white flycatchers and various tits are also being sold.

Some dealers are avoiding regulations by pretending the native wild birds are imported, as most imported birds are not subject to Japanese regulations on selling and breeding.

“It is a serious problem to have ordinary people buying wild birds just as if they were buying a canary,” said society member Yutaka Kobayashi. “Legally imported birds should be distinguished from domestic wild birds that have been poached by attaching rings, but eventually I hope all sales of wild birds will be banned.”

The society is planning to ask the Environment Agency and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to regulate imports of birds and to request that retailers stop selling domestic wild birds.

New environment post

The Environment Agency is planning to create a vice ministerial level position in charge of negotiating international environmental issues such as global warming when the Ministry of Environment is launched next January, agency officials said Wednesday.

The agency and some sectors of the Heath and Welfare Ministry will be integrated into the new ministry as part of an overall administrative reorganization.

According to the officials, the agency decided to establish the post because a specialist in this field is necessary for international negotiations.

The agency has also decided to post 59 officials across the nation to tackle regional environmental issues, including illegal waste disposal and dioxin pollution, the officials said.

Among the 59 officials, 35 will be based in nine cities, with each city having four officials. Naha will be an exception with three.

The other cities are Sapporo, Sendai, Omiya in Saitama Prefecture, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu in Kagawa Prefecture and Fukuoka.

The other 24 officials will be assigned to selected prefectural capitals, the officials said.

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