The government on Friday endorsed an ordinance to prohibit the importing and breeding of 37 nonnative species seen as endangering the ecosystem.

The law, intended to protect native species, will take effect June 1. It will ban the importing, trading, breeding and disposing of the 37 species, including largemouth bass, black bass, snapping turtles, raccoons and black widow spiders, unless approved by the government for research or other special purposes.

The law does not apply to those species already being kept as pets and for research, educational and industrial purposes if they are registered and bred in strictly controlled facilities.

Individual violators face fines of up to 3 million yen or three years in prison. The law imposes fines of up to 100 million yen on corporate violators. Releasing the designated species after catching them is not banned.

“This is the first step to conserve our ecosystem,” Environment Minister Yuriko Koike said.

Other designated species include Taiwan macaque, Australian opossums, melodious laughing thrushes, cane toads and pekin robins.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.