This report is written based on my experience after attending Environmental Education training in Japan on 14-31 August 2002. The purpose is to share ideas and experiences attained from the training.

Mount Fuji
Mr. Moktar at the Ministry of Environment, Japan

The training involved various teaching methods including firstly meeting officers in the ministry of environment and related government agencies concerned. Secondly, observing environmental education facilities and centres and thirdly attending briefing sessions and finally participated in three outdoor activities related to environmental education.

Among agencies I have visited and had discussion and listened to briefings are JICA headquarters, Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC), Ministry of Environment, Japan Biodiversity Centre, Fujitsu Company and Tokyo Gakugei University. I also visited and observed various centres and related facilities including Shinjuku Gyoen Imperial Garden, Nikko National Parks, Tokyo Gas Exploratorium and NHK TV Station. I also participated in three outdoor environmental education activities first, Nature School for hands-on experience at Lake Tanuki of Fujicity, Shizuoka Prefecture; Second, open college programme entitled outdoor Environmental Education organized by Tokyo Gakugei University at Itsukaichi city. Third, Nikko National Park volunteers activity.

I would like to thank JICA for this training opportunity. I would also like to thank the JICA Chief Advisor for the BBEC Programme, Mr. Takahisa Kusano, Dr. Jiro Iguchi, the JICA Technical Expert for Public Awareness Component of BBEC, for their advice, support and assistance given in ensuring the success of my training. I also like to thank Ms. Ryoko Takeda the BBEC coordinator, The State Secretary, Datuk K. Y. Mustafa and all heads of components and members of the BBEC Steering Committee.

The training went on smoothly and ended very successfully. In this regard, I would like to put my highest appreciation to all persons involved in ensuring my training in Japan was well organised. Firstly, my appreciation goes to the programme coordinator Mr. Nobuyoshi Sakaguchi and Ms. Arai of JICE for their excellence coordination and translation, to Mr. Okamoto and his officers of First Training Programme of JICA, Officers at Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC) especially Ms. Kaoru Shindo. And lastly to all staff members of Tokyo International Centre (TIC) for their professional services and excellence facilities provided during my stay in Tokyo.

Thank you.

Science and Technology Unit,
Cum Head of Public Awareness Component,
Borneon Biodiversity and Ecosytem Conservation Programme.


There are various strategies, approaches or methods, which Sabah can adopt, based on Japan experience in relation to environmental education. These are summarise as follows:-

It is suggested for Sabah,

  • to study in detail the Japan environmental education policy and analyse it whether it can be adopted in Sabah.
  • to consider and study the structure of agencies that involved in environmental–related issues in Sabah by comparing them with Japan’s Ministry of Environmental institutional framework.
  • to use the Japan Biodiversity Centre (JBC) as a model for the Sabah Biodiversity Centre.
    Several activities by JBC that should be considered are:
    1. To conduct a similar survey on Natural Environment or Green Census.
    2. To establish an Information centre on Biodiversity with interactive exhibits and using latest technology.
    3. To establish an integrated database or Information System in line with clearing House Mechanism required under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
    4. To create ‘Internet’ Nature Museum to enhance the awareness of the general public.
  • to study the possibility to introduce Junior Parks Ranger and Junior Eco club for primary student on environmental education.
  • to integrate database on biodiversity in Sabah like the Japan – Integrated Biodiversity Information System, J – IBIS.
  • to conduct training for people who want to become an interpreter for Environmental Education.
  • an Eco-school could be introduced in Sabah similar to the concept of some of environmental–friendly schools in Japan.
  • to consider the establishment of a nature exploratorium centre similar to the Tokyo Gas Nature exploratorium.
  • to Study the ‘Guidelines for environmental education’ for Japanese schoolteachers and adopt where appropriate.
  • to introduce a similar test for people who are involved in environmental education by adopting the JWRC’s Biological Taxonomy Ability Certification System.



I made a courtesy call to Mr. Onodera, the deputy director of Nature Conservation Bureau of the Ministry of Environment. Among suggestions given by him are:-

  1. Internet is made use for environmental education.
  2. Incorporate education system with environmental education curriculum. Also it is necessary to have a manual kit for teachers in nature conservation.
  3. Extension of knowledge on nature conservation by letting people fully involved on first or hands on experience.
  4. More leaflets or pamphlets are to be used for the campaign.
  5. In Japan, there are problems to have sufficient lecturer for general public on nature conservation.
  6. One of good strategy is to let people visit good nature environment sites.
  7. Politician in Japan involved through the committee on environment with members come form members of parliament.
  8. Only small percentage of private company in nature conservation e.g. Fuji Film initiated a program known as green fund for nature. This kind of fund is slowly expended as more companies follow suits such as Taichi Construction. Funds are channelled to NPOS.


This Test of Taxonomic Proficiency was developed by Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC) and commenced in 1999. Briefing on Test of Taxonomic Proficiency by Ms. Imanaka at Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC). Ms. Imanaka explained on the background and objectives, and gave details of the test and analysis from the result of the test.

The Test has four different grades and aims to achieve the following three objectives:-

  • It gives opportunities to learn adequate knowledge on species particularly interested people or parties that involved in nature and wildlife conservation.
  • The Test contributes to development of taxonomies of fauna and flora.
  • The Test gives opportunities to improve and advance knowledge and techniques particularly persons whom are currently engaged in related research works.

The purpose of the four 2 level grades basically are to judge the ability and knowledge of every examinee.

The 3rd and 4th grades being the lowest are mainly to give opportunities for those who are interested in taxonomy in general and to learn more about the taxonomy as well as to promote the test amongst general public. The Test asks about living things in general such as basic knowledge about categorisation of living things, identification skills of popular animals and plants such as common wild species, horticultural plants. Examinees are required to answer by choosing a correct answer.

The purpose of the highest 1st and 2nd grades are to evaluate and improve knowledge and techniques of those who are currently engaged in research works or plan to become professionals in this field.

Only those who have over three-year experience in related field (e.g. EIA evaluation) and have passed the 2nd grade can take this examination.

The questions and certifications are handled by a panel of 9 members, which consists of university professors, expert from national museum, research scientists and so on.

Results of the Test since 1999 show interesting characteristics such as follows:-

  • Only 33.6% of the total 443 examinees in 1999 for 3rd grade have passed the exam. For 2nd grade in the same year, 15.4% have passed the animal’s category and 18.8% pass the plant category. (There was no 4th grade Test in 1999).
  • For 4th grade, 32.7% (of 214 persons) have passed in year 2000, 26.8% (of 190 persons) 2001, and 46.5% (of 383) in year 2002.
  • Among different profession in the 4th grade, students were the highest with 52.9% passed, civil servant at 5.0%, teachers (5.0%), housewife (4.1%), NGO staff (0.8%). For 2nd grade, consultants (nature environment) were the highest at 78.9% passed and the lowest was NGO staff at 0.3%.
  • In terms of age, 15 – 20 age cohort for the 4th – grade and 15 –30 age cohort for 3rd grade were the highest.
  • Among those who passed the exam, 68.2% were males and only 31.8% were females.

In conclusion from this Test, JWRC is able to identify the level of knowledge among people especially students which can be used as input for curriculum evaluation. The Test is also useful to identify experts in the field so that these experts can be used as resource persons in related works.


Nature School at Lake Tanuki is located on the foot of the mount Fuji at Fuji city of Shizuoka Prefecture.

Mr. H. Iwasaki, the Nature guide of the school explained that the school was built by the Ministry of Environment. However, the day-to-day operations of the school are being managed by a NPO called Environmental Education Forum. The Forum consists of 5 organisations including Ministry of Education and Shizuoka Prefecture.

About 120,000 visitors visit the school of which around 10% participated in the school’s activities. The school is established to provide opportunities for people to “feel the nature” as well as to experience the first-hand programmes led by the professional staff. Nature education programmes offered by the school include adventures in the cave and forest, birdcalls and guided walk. Accommodation for over night stay is also available.

In the afternoon, I observed activities attended by 3 high schools, which consists about 25 students of which about 90% are female and around 7 teachers.

Two nature guides including Mr. Iwasaki taught the group. First, they were given instruction and briefing about activities to be held. They were also given information on what to look for such as insects, trees and so on. There were also games held just to make these students become interested. Another activity given was birdcalls by using a simple tool of iron screw and small cubical wood. The tool could imitate about 3 types of bird sound. The last part of the activity was to identify things found during the guided walk.


I made a courtesy call to Mr. Katsumi Kitazawa, the Director of Japan Biodiversity Centre (JBC). I was also given a tour guide in the centre, including public information centre, library, specimen rooms and lecture room. Later, Mr. Kiyoshi Tarikawa, the deputy director gave briefing on the overall operation and functions of the centre. The 4 functions of the centre are first, to conduct a National Survey on Natural Environment or Green Census, which is being held once in every 5 years. The second function of the centre is collection and storage of biological specimens and documents. The third, information i.e. collection, management and public service of information concerning biodiversity conservation. The fourth, publicity about the importance of biodiversity conservation.

The Green Census is carried nation wide since 1973 and designed to clarify the current state of Japan’s natural environment and monitor any changes. The survey is subdivided into various categories such as animals, plants, rivers/lakes/marshes etc. The Survey is implemented by local governments with the cooperation of researchers, experts and volunteers across Japan.

A briefing by Information System Planner on clearing House Mechanism (CHM) was held in the afternoon. It is a system where all information can be retrieved through CHM as focal points by using Internet server facilities. However, at present JBC is still in the R & D stage. One organisation known as Geographical survey Institute of the Ministry of transport and construction is providing this system – currently only 5 organisations are participating in the establishment of CHM. Once established, CHM can act as focal point and provides distribution of information regarding Biodiversity.

Later, a briefing by Mr. T. Ohtsuka on Japan Integrated Biodiversity Information System (J-IBIS) was held. Briefly, J-IBIS was created based on Information made in the Green Census. It has been made public since 1998 and was updated in 1999. Information is made available on the web and CD – ROM.

JBC also introduces “Internet Nature Museum” which is place in the JBC Website for the benefit of general public. Among interesting feature includes live pictures taken in certain strategic places in all Japan National Parks. Live images are transferred every one-hour and general public can search them in the website. Preview pictures and information are stored in the server and are also made available in the Internet.


This outdoor environmental education course was attended by around 30 people consisting school teachers and staffs of Tokyo Gakugei University. The Outdoors Environmental Education started with a visit to Buddhist Temple at Vokoirizawa and proceeds to Satoyama nearby which is rich with forests and vegetation. Instruction and guide were given by an interpreter, a pensioner who lived nearby. Then we proceed to Hinohera where we moved to forest lodge at Yokowawairi.

After lunch, we had dye making activities by using natural bark of sida tree. The lesson was given on how to make dye by separating bark from sida timber, tear into small pieces and the boiled them for a few hours. We were also thought on how to make pattern, which is depend on individual creativity. Ashes are added in the bark solution to make the dye stronger and not easily faded. Then the clothes put in the solution and leave them overnight.

We also learned on how to look and identify aquatic life creatures in the river water, which is an important indicators or pollution index of the water. The lesson learned includes on how to find these creatures and identify them by comparing with pictures given as a guide. Some questions were asked to be filled in the booklet including river characteristics such as width, speed of river water flow, common types of creatures and finally identify whether the river is clean or dirty.

The last activity basically was to make patterns and pictures using nature’s items such as stone, woods, leaves and others. Participants are divided into a group of 4 and are given 45 minutes to let them design pictures or patterns according to their creativity. The objective of this activity is to make aware of nature and surrounding which is very useful for almost any purposes.

After dinner, slide presentation and lecture about universe, stars, planets and all kind of phenomena in the universe were given.

Before recess for the day, we had a brief gathering among participants by having ala-Japanese party.

On the second day of outdoors-Environmental Education we started our day at 5.30 a.m. by watching bird around the river and near the foot of the mountain. However only few birds were seen as we were informed that during this time, birds are resting after mating season.

After breakfast, we continued our activities about forest work. We were thought on how to sharpening grass cutter and went for forest’s grass clearing on a slope of a mounting nearby.
In the afternoon, we had wood work where were taught on how to use several tools to bore, saw, and then we had wood carving and handicraft making.

Overall, this course has provided participants with new perspective on the understanding and perception about nature. The two days camp had given me new experiences on environmental education by participating fully in the activities.


My two-days trip to Nikko National Park of Tochigi Prefecture was arranged together with the wildlife conservation course of African countries. This group consists eight participants from countries including Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, Madagascar, etc. The group was accompanied by training coordinator, Ms. Nakajima and Mr. Kinoshita of JWRC apart from my interpreter, Mr. Sakaguchi.

Upon arrival at Nikko National Parks we were greeted by Park Volunteers and staffs of Natural Parks Foundation who managed Information centres at Nikko National Parks.

We participated in the cleaning volunteer activities together with local participants, around 15 persons, around wetlands hiking tracks. Along the way, Interpretation on the types of flora (plants and trees), surrounding environment is given by park volunteers. We were also informed that deer are eating bark of beech trees and resulting some of these trees died. Between November and February last year, about 1,500 deer were shot and but their numbers keeps increasing. This is a big problem to the management of Nikko National Park.

Among initiatives taken to solve this problem are by putting fencing at certain boundaries and by wrapping beech trees with strong plastic net.

The hiking area covers wide area of wetlands and canals including waterfalls known as Yudaki Waterfalls.

On the second day, a lecture was given by Prof. Motoko Oyadomari of Edogawa University, Chiba at visitors centre. Her lecture is entitled National Park Systems of the world.

She started the lecture by informing us on the history of national park with the first established National Park in Yellowstone, USA in 1872. This was followed by the establishment of National Park in Australia in 1879, Canada in 1885 and New Zealand in 1894. Japan, in 1934 and Malaysia in 1939.

Parks were established because of various reasons such as for economic or for political reason. In Japan, National Parks are established to preserve natural beauty but not solely to conserve of Biological Diversity. There is distinct difference between these two, the former volunteers are used to manage parks such as cutting trees and cleaning while the letter, ecosystem are preserved without human intervention.

She also informed the five types of National Park namely:-
1) The USA types - for the sake of conservation.
2) The European type - for Scientific and Research purposes.
3) Nature Beauty - like in Japan and England.
4) African type - for tourism attraction.
5 ) A mixture of conservation and Nature Beauty. Such as in Vietnam and certain part of Taiwan.

Involvement of people in the management of Japan National Parks are:-

  • Local Volunteers - By offering cleaning and interpretation. Hotel owners are also involved by providing meals for volunteers and performing concert for free.
  • Students - They help park management at the same time they benefited through experience learning.
  • Junior Parks Ranger and Junior Eco club for primary student on environmental education.
  • Business Sector - Museum are managed by the business and/or third sector but at initial stage building was built by the prefecture government.
  • National Park Foundation helps run visitors centre.
  • National Vacation Village - Operated by NGOs with facilities given are accommodation and education programmes – with minimum charges.
  • National Park Association of Japan - helps on education programmes.

After the lecture, we had a sharing session with inputs from participants for African countries. Activities conducted related to environmental or Nature Conservation in these African countries included tree planting, study visit, poem and drawing competition etc.

The Visit to Nikko ended by making a courtesy call to the Mayor of Nikko city.


The briefing started was given by the manager of sales and Marketing Department, Mr. Uno on the company and Japan strategy to become top ICT country in year 2005.

The second briefing was given on Japan Integrated Biodiversity Information System (J-IBIS) by Ms. Fukuba and Mr.Yoshida. The briefing covered the network system of J-IBIS, steps required for website maintenance. They also talked about the flow of a system construction started with date collection and creation and ended by the feedback from users.

We were also given a chance to visit Fujitsu Exhibition Centre where they exhibit latest products as well as old technology such as the auto relay computer aged 48 years ago.


Upon arrival, we were greeted by the General Manager Mr. Takashi. Later Mr. Takashi and his deputy Mr. Ikura gave briefing on objectives, facilities and concept of the exploratorium owned by Tokyo Gas Company.

The Energy and Earth Exploratorium was built about 4 years ago with the purpose that visitors particularly children can learn and understand the issue of environment and energy. The facility was built under the concept to make the most of natural energy such as solar and wind, recycles water and uses energy efficiently with a hi-tech technology equipment including fuel cells, Gentlink etc.

The Energy and Earth Exploratorium is equipped with modern facilities for visitors such as exhibition room, workshop room, Environmental Information Centre and Theatre. More than 100,000 visitors visited this centre annually, with more than 60% are children and their families, 30% school children and teachers and the rest are public, government officials.

The three main features in this exploratorium are firstly, hands on experience where children can touch panels and play around. Secondly, interpreters are used not only to explain the exhibits, but also to stimulate children’s awareness. Thirdly, the whole buildings are eco-friendly by making use of light, water and vegetation and incorporating latest modern technology. About 98% of power used in the building is generated through fuel cell.

I also able to observe in action activities held for children such as EL TV (Earth lover TV) and workshop conducted by Interpreters.

These are 25 Interpreters in the Exploratorium whom are mainly young graduates in environmental education, arts, science and gardening. A special training were given prior to become Interpreter on environmental education including visit to museum, or participated in specific training such as Kiosatu Environmental Education Project (KEEP).

Overall, this exploratorium is managed independently without any financial or advisory support from government.


At the TGU, I met Mr. & Mrs. Eiichiro Harako and Ms. Kanoda with translation given by Ms. M. Arai replacing Mr. Sakaguchi.

Mr. Harako gave briefing on TGU general information. TGU was established for teachers’ education and advance training. Currently, TGU has more than 5,000 students with two faculties i.e. Teachers and secondly Liberal Arts course. It has other facilities and institutes especially the Field Study Institute for environmental education.

Mr. Harako also gave explanation about National Policy on Environmental Education by two ministries namely the ministry of environmental and secondly ministry of education.

The policy introduced by the ministry of environment has 6 main pillars such as follows:-
1) Human Resource Development.
2) Programme Development.
3) The Distribution of Information.
4) The Cooperation among Organisations.
5) The approaches by Private Enterprises.
6) International Cooperation.

On the hand, the policy formulated by ministry of education has 5 strategies such as follows:-
1) The improvements of the content and teaching methods:-

  • At the moment, there is no specific subject on environment education but it is being thought in a specific time period known as Integrated Period of time, a time frame allocated on any subject when necessary.
  • There is a model programme on environmental education e.g. ‘Globe’ (Global learning and observation to benefit the environment). In Japan, there are 24 schools that have been designated by the Ministry of Education to join in this programme.

2) Professional Development by improving teachers’ skills through two approaches:-

  • Preparation of teaching guides book on Environmental Education.
  • Organising seminars/lectures on Environmental Education.

3) Enrichment and Development on Environmental Education at community and family level.
There are two approaches:-

  • The Ministry of Education chooses one community as a model to implement Environmental Education. In year 2002, 36 municipalities are chosen as a model.
  • Ministry of Education conducts environmental learning fair, an annual event where participants meet, exchange and share knowledge on Environmental Education.

4) Improvement of Dissemination of Information System including create database for Environmental Education, Teaching Method and Techniques, Case Studies implemented by schools. Once completed it will be published in the website.

5 ) Development of Eco-School:-

- Develop more schools with environmental friendly.
These are several case studies. This Eco-school concept has two physical significance:-

  • Very environmental friendly.
  • Also very good as teaching material.

In Japan, the ministry is planning to have 157 schools in the next five years.

Both policies are revised annually but implemented independently. However, they are some projects implemented together e.g. children park project, global learning. Later, Ms. Kanoda informed on actual case studies done at primary and Junior High School.

The first case study at Jinggo-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo involving greening activity by planting paddy in pots with assistance given by a farmer from Nigata Prefecture.

The Second case study is involving students at Anjo-Nishi Junior High School at Aichi Prefecture. This is a pilot project in which underground water is pumped out and used for watering Biotope and also for organic farming. Another project by these students is a study on the level of water pollution by involving local people. Both projects supported by Prefecture education board and education board of the city government.

The difficulty for teachers is that there is no specific subject on environment. It is up to these teachers to think and use their creativity to develop Environmental Education.


At NHK I had discussion with Mr. Masaru Ikeo, the Executive Producer of science and environment programme.

The programme produce by NHK focuses on science and technology, medical, life science, nature, wildlife and conservation.

NHK airs once weekly programme on nature and conservation and produced 40 programmes (of which 30 are filmed outside Japan) in a year. One of them is a programme called Global Family, which has been run since 1989. The basic concept of global family is focusing on one animal or one habitat. On April, there was a programme on Proboscis Monkey of Sabah.

NHK also produces special series programme e.g. Wild Asia, Co-produced with natural History of New Zealand.

Another programme on Environmental Education for NHK Education Channel is known as “Only One Earth”.

About 12% of Japan household (or around 12 million people) watch weekly programme on nature and conservation.


I had a discussion with Mr. Stefan & Mr. Yamase at IWRC regarding the proposed to held an environmental conservation programme for Japanese youth together with local youth in Sabah. This programme could be held in year 2003 if Sabah supported it by giving local manpower and facilities. On the other hand JWRC will provide fund for all Japanese participants. A total of 40 youth aged between 20-21 could be selected based on 1:1 ratio.

Further detail of the programme will be discussed with BBEC members and JICA.


The final day of the training is evaluation meeting first with Ms. Shindo of JWRC and secondly with JICA at TIC attended by Mr. Okamoto, Mr. Tanaka, Ms. Nishiuma of JICA and Mr. Sakaguchi of JICE.

The discussion touched on the Questionnaire that was provided by JICA and filled by myself. I gave written and verbal input on the pros and cons of the training programme.

Overall, this environmental education training has given me new knowledge and eye opener of the Japan policy, system, institutional framework, and the HRD supports in the implementation of environmental education.


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