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The G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit


Find the Latest on Environment Issues at "The Eco Gallery"

June 5, 2008

"The Eco Gallery", a short-term special exhibition on environment issues, finally opened its door to the public on Sunday, June 1 in Toyako Visitor Center, a nature information facility established by Ministry of the Environment. This large-scale exhibition is established by Hokkaido Regional Environment Office of the ministry, and targets at visitors to Lake Toya during and around the G8 Summit period.

The opening ceremony on Sunday, June 1, was attended by Mr. Ikuzo Sakurai, Senior Vice Minister of the Environment, Miss Asami Okada, the Miss Nature of Japan of 2008, and many other guests.

"We hope that the Eco Gallery will be an opportunity for all visitors to learn the latest on environment issues and start to take more actions in daily lives", Mr. Sakurai said in the ceremony. The mayor of Soubetsu Town and the director of Department of Environment and Lifestyle of Hokkaido also gave a speech, which was followed by the outline of the exhibition and the facility by Chief Director of Hokkaido Regional Environment Office.

In the opening event following the ceremony, Miss Okada read a story about the nature in Japan and the warming of the earth to children using story cards. Children were absorbed in the story.

"Team Minus 6%" Appealing CO2 Reduction

"Team Minus 6%" is Japan's national campaign to fight against global warming. The campaign, led by Ministry of the Environment, calls for everyday effort by all citizens to reduce CO2 emission by one kilogram a day. The Eco Gallery also urges visitors to join Team Minus 6% and sign their pledge to make effort in their daily life. For those who sign up in the Eco Gallery, a special card is issued, and Miss Okada also signed her pledge in the Eco Gallery.

"Yukigassen", Snowball Battle

Following the opening ceremony in the morning, a competition of "Yukigassen", Japanese traditional snowball battle game, was held in the afternoon, co-sponsored by the Showa-shinzan International Yukigassen Executive Committee. For this competition, snow from this past winter had been collected and stored in the snow-cooling vegetable storage of the local agriculture association. The storage was built as a project of community development through actions against global warming, led by Ministry of the Environment.

Snowball battle games could be endangered if warming of the earth continues. Symbolizing the determination to fight against global warming, Miss Okada and Mr. Sakurai tossed the first ball of the game at the model of the red earth before the competition game. To this competition, children from local elementary schools, trainees from overseas under the program of JICA, and college students from Muroran Institute of Technology were invited. Staff from the Ministry of the Environment and members of Yukigassen Executive Committee also participated in the games.

A Wide Variety of Exhibitions

The Strategy for an Environmental Nation in the 21st Century is comprised of three components; low-carbonization of society, promoting recycle-based society, and society in harmony with nature. From these three areas, the Eco Gallery shows various topics. From an environment learning standpoint, the exhibitions are designed so that anyone over age 10 are able to enjoy and understand.

  • Global warming (impact on the earth, measures against global warming, actions by "Team Minus 50%" around Lake Toya, "daily one-kilogram CO2 reduction" pledge, etc.)
  • "The 3Rs"; reduce, reuse, and recycle (producing biomass ethanol from scrap lumbers, etc.)
  • Biodiversity (protecting endangered species, conserving Satochi-Satoyama , invasive alien species, Third National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan, etc.)
  • Nature in Japan (national parks and nature in Hokkaido, etc.)
  • Food and environment (food mileage, virtual water, etc.)
  • Environmental pollution in Japan: its history, and reduction and solution effort
  • Wall greening technologies: wall greening using plants in Hokkaido

Besides the regular exhibitions on the environment issues, the Eco Gallery is going to offer the information of the nature in the surrounding area and various other. Many events, programs, special exhibitions are currently being planned and produced.

Environment-friendly Equipment Operating the Eco Gallery

The Eco Gallery is operated using many environment-friendly facilities and equipment.

  • The exhibitions of the Eco Gallery are housed in a reusable tent, which is scheduled to be used in other events after the Eco Gallery's closure on August 31, 2008. The fabric of the tent is biomass film made from kenaf, and it can be recycled and eventually turned into paper.
  • The photovoltaic power generation system of Toyako Visitor Center supplies all the electricity used in the Eco Gallery.
  • All the display units in the Eco Gallery are made of recycled cardboards. These displays, foldable and movable, are to be used in other facilities and programs as well.
  • Using plants in Hokkaido, wall greening technology is demonstrated. The plants displayed are also going to be utilized in local environmental learning programs after the exhibition closes.
  • The bio toilets decompose human wastes with the help of bacteria in sawdust. The sawdust waste becomes excellent organic fertilizers.

Photo Exhibition "The Beautiful Nature of Japan"

In the Eco Gallery, 60 photos of nature in Japan are shown through to the end of June 13, in cooperation with Society of Scientific Photography. Photos of rural areas in Japan, animals and vegetation, magnificent landscape in national parks and many others are fascinating the visitors.

Many other events and programs are scheduled in the Eco Gallery through to the end of the exhibition. For the latest event information of the Eco Gallery in English, please visit Toyako Visitor Center's website. The official website of the Eco Gallery also offers the information in Japanese.

  • "The Eco Gallery" at Toyako Visitor Center (142-5, Toyako Onsen, Toyako Town, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, Japan, phone: 0142-73-3636j