(Dec. 23, 2010) Japan's Law Concerning Promotion of Activities Coordinated Among Local Organizations for the Conservation of Biodiversity, known as the Satochi Satoyama (Satoyama Initiative) law, was promulgated on December 10, 2010 (Law No. 72 of 2010). The Law was issued in the aftermath of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2010, which Japan hosted. (Convention on Biological Diversity, Welcome to COP 10, http://www.cbd.int/cop10/ (last visited Dec. 17, 2010)).
Japan developed the Satoyama Initiative with a vision “to realize societies in harmony with nature, comprising human communities where the maintenance and development of socio-economic activities (including agriculture and forestry) aligns with natural processes” (About, Satoyama Initiative, http://satoyama-initiative.org/en/about (last visited Dec. 22, 2010)). The term satoyama is similar to the word “countryside” in English. The Initiative targets such areas as villages, farmland, and adjacent woods and grasslands that have been formed and maintained through long-term human influence (id.). The Satoyama Initiative was recognized by and obtained support from the COP 10 (COP 10 Decision X/32, Sustainable Use of Biodiversity Rep. of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity, 10th Mtg., Oct. 18-29, U.N. Doc. UNEP/CBD/COP/10/27, at 261 (Dec. 19, 2010), http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/cop/cop-10/official/cop-10-27-en.pdf).
The new Law obligates national and municipal governments to establish community cooperation plans that can be the basis for community organizations' conservation activities. The Law removes restrictions on land use and exempts organizations from licensing requirements applicable under various other laws, as long as the activities are based on the plans.