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The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the village of Ogasawara set up a joint committee Friday to address the negative effects of imported species on the Ogasawara Islands, nominated by Japan as a site for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The committee will gather views from experts on plants and animals and aim to compile a report to the central government by the end of next March on specific measures against imported species harming rare indigenous flora.

In May, the Environment Ministry chose the Ogasawara Islands, some 1,000 km south of Tokyo, along with the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido and the Ryukyu (Okinawa) island chain as candidates for the World Heritage List of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The government is taking measures to register the sites with the World Heritage Program, which began in 1978 and aims to protect historic sites and natural landmarks of outstanding universal significance.

Touted as “the Galapagos of Asia,” the Ogasawara Islands are rich in indigenous plant and animal life, including rosewood and the Bonin flying fox, a kind of bat.

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