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Japan will create a database covering 1.75 million species of plants and animals in Japan and 11 other Asian countries, Environment Agency officials said Monday.

The National Institute for Environment Studies hopes to launch a computer network by 2005 to share information on genes, habitats, populations and photos.

The institute in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, will ask the Finance Ministry to earmark 50 million yen for the project in the fiscal 2001 budget, the officials said.

The planned database to be maintained in Japan will also cover Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

A special feature of the database is that it will be capable of recognizing multiple scientific names for a single species, the officials said.

This is aimed at eliminating confusion caused by different names for the same species, despite the existence of international agreements aimed at unifying the names.

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