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I once took a ferry from Kagoshima on the southernmost tip of Kyushu to Amami Oshima, halfway to Okinawa. Just 60 km out from the massive Sakurajima volcano that dominates Kagoshima City, our ship passed a huge granite hunk of rock some 50,000 hectares, covered in forest.

I didn’t know it then, but that green island was Yakushima: inspiration for anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, home to one of the oldest trees in the world, and now an experiment in hydrogen power and a future sustainable society.

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