Governor says Shiga Prefecture willing to share experiences in environmental protection with Chinese counterpart

15:31, June 18, 2011      

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By Ma Xinghua

Shiga Prefecture is willing to share its experiences accumulated in environmental protection with its Chinese counterpart, Yukiko Kada, governor of Japan's western prefecture of Shiga said Friday.

In an interview with Xinhua in Otsu, capital of Shiga Prefecture, Kada said Shiga Prefecture has deepened cooperation between its organizations and enterprises and their Chinese counterparts.

So far, organizations and companies from China's Hunan Province, which has sister relationship with Shiga Prefecture, have taken part in the Enviro-Shiga exhibition, she said, adding that other Chinese economic organizations were also invited to participate in that event.

In August this year, as in the previous year, about 30 companies operating in Shiga Prefecture mainly in the field of environmental protection will visit Hunan Province, where they will meet local counterparts to have business talks, said Kada.

Speaking in front of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest fresh water lake, Kada, who was a professor of environmental sociology at Kyoto Seika University before first elected governor of Shiga Prefecture in 2006, said that at one time, Lake Biwa was seriously polluted due to massive outbreaks of red tide. Shocked at the pollution, the residents of Shiga Prefecture rose up and voluntarily stopped using synthetic detergents containing phosphorus, which is a contributing factor causing red tide. This developed into a great civic movement across the prefecture to protect the lake.

She said the movement led to the establishment of the Ordinance on Prevention of Eutrophication of Lake Biwa. This ordinance was the first regulation in Japan for effluent control of nitrogen and phosphorus. Subsequently, Shiga Prefecture implemented various measures which included increasing the coverage of sewerage systems, reducing agricultural chemicals and chemical fertilizers etc. Thanks to these endeavors, recently the prefecture has seldom suffered red tide in Lake Biwa.

In 2009, Kada recalled, the 13th World Lake Conference was held in Wuhan, China. At the conference, Zhou Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection of China, delivered a keynote speech in which he stated that Shiga Prefecture's experience in restoring Lake Biwa would serve as an important model for China in the future, as a successful practice in restoring a once-degraded lake environment.

Talking about sister relationship between Shiga Prefecture and Hunan Province concluded 28 years ago, Kada said the bilateral relations dates back to ancient time. For example, the Omi Hakkei, or the eight most beautiful scenes in the southern part of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, were modeled on the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers in Hunan Province.

Residents of Shiga Prefecture are very friendly and feel familiar with the people of China, the governor said, adding that she herself has been to China more than ten times since 1983, and have many Chinese friends.

"Shiga Prefecture is well characterized by its efforts to protect Lake Biwa. We would like to publicize Shiga Prefecture as a destination for eco-tourism, educational travel, and incentive tours by the environmental industry," she added.

Source: Xinhua
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