For The Japan Awards for Biodiversity 2013 – Manabu Akaike

The AEON Environmental Foundation (Takuya Okada, Chairman of the Foundation and Honorary Chairman and Adviser of AEON Co., Ltd.) commenced public recruitment on March 1, 2013 for The Japan Awards for Biodiversity. 


The aim of the Awards is to honour distinguished projects carried out by organizations or individuals in Japan that have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.  The Grand Prix recipient is awarded a certificate and a monetary prize of two million yen.  Also, each Excellence Award recipient is awarded a certificate and a monetary prize of one million yen.  The project categories to be awarded are activities or research related to diffusion, enlightenment, conservation and/or sustainable use of biodiversity.


From this year on, research has been newly added to the categories to be awarded since the sustainable use of biodiversity is important as well as its conservation.  Today, how we should deal with ecological services (*), make social waves and contribute to regions are key issues in activities related to biodiversity.  The Japan Awards place emphasis on various cooperative projects (including joint projects with local governments) in addition to activities by NPOs, NGOs, educational and research institutions, and companies.



Mr. Manabu Akaike, Director, Universal Design Intelligence Inc., Science Journalist, and Judge of the Judging Committee said:

“In regard to the Japan Awards 2013, I think we should focus on projects of research and development or technology innovation related to biodiversity.  We are using diverse services supplied by the ecosystem such as food, biomaterial and landscapes.  However, we will not be able to benefit from ecological services if we cannot conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.  Therefore, research and development dealing with biodiversity is essential, and the evaluation of basic research is also important.  I hope the Japan Awards are able to encourage such research and development projects.”



* Ecological Services

Ecological services are benefits supplied by the ecosystem.  Ecological services include “Provisioning Services” such as the provision of food, water, woods, fibers and fuels, “Regulating Services” such as control of the climate and the purification of water, “Cultural Services” such as spiritual and recreational benefits, and “Supporting Services” such as the circulation of nutrients and formation of soils and photosynthesis. 

Reference: White Paper on the Environment, Circulating Society and Biodiversity, 2011, Japan’s Ministry of the Environment