Japan to pitch Kobushi mountain region as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve area


The Japanese National Commission for UNESCO will propose for registration as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve area the Kobushi mountain region, which straddles Saitama and three neighboring prefectures.

The commission said Wednesday it plans to submit an application in September. Whether the region will be added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Biosphere Reserve list will be determined around spring 2019.

The Kobushi region stretches over 12 municipalities in the four prefectures, which also include Nagano, Yamanashi and Tokyo. Its main feature is the Okuchichibu mountain range, including Mount Kobushi and Mount Kinpu.

The 190,603-hectare region is the source of several major rivers, namely the Arakawa, Tama, Fuefuki and Chikuma. Areas near these rivers are also included in the region.

The region is rich in nature and includes precious species, such as the Luehdorfia puziloi variety of butterfly, as well as cultural assets linked to mountain worship and Shintoism.

UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve program, launched in 1976, is aimed at promoting the coexistence of nature and humans.

Current nine Japanese regions are registered, including the Shiga Highland area straddling Nagano and Gunma prefectures and the island region of Yakushima and Kuchinoerabu in southwestern Japan.