These are the Ume that gave Umekoji its name:
Lovely aren’t they? We ought to have a bit more of that in the park and much less of this:
I took these pictures in Umekoji Park yesterday evening. It had been about a month since I last had a look at the construction work there. Previously I had to hang out of a toilet window in a neighboring building to see it. Now though, the aquarium building is a lot bigger, and higher than the surrounding screens, so it can be seen from the road. It was a pleasant spring evening though, marred only by the sound of the construction. I couldn’t help thinking what an eyesore that great big concrete box is going to be once it is finished. How short-sighted our political leaders are!
A few weeks ago Kyoto Mayor Kadokawa gave an address to the FCCJ (Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan) in Tokyo about Kyoto’s efforts to boost its profile in the world. I listened to it. One of the first questions he was asked was about the aquarium:
“This controversial project of building an aquarium with dolphins. Do you think Kyoto needs such an attraction?”
The mayor had the nerve to reply by trying to connect the aquarium with last year’s COP10 conference on Biodiversity in Nagoya…
I went there and and made a presentation of Kyoto plans including the plan for the aquarium. The aquarium that we plan in Kyoto is not just a showcase of fish and other marine species. We will collaborate and associate with the wildlife research institute of Kyoto University so that our aquarium will be something which will be contributing to the preservation of the biodiversity of this Earth. For example dolphins will be there. The dolphins’ ecology, how they live is not well known. We have the world’s authority on dolphins in Kyoto University. So we will have the contribution by this professor so that our aquarium will be something which will make a contribution for the better understanding of the wild dolphin’s ecology.
Unbelievable! How on earth are we supposed to accept that dolphins confined in tiny artificial pools, and forced to perform tricks in daily shows are a suitable test case for research into dolphin ecology? What on earth is the mayor’s Kyoto University expert/crony going to learn about biodiversity from watching dolphins jump through hoops?
Here’s the truth about the Kyoto Aquarium’s effect on biodiversity and upon our environment:
- To build this aquarium they have already destroyed all too rare public green space: a meadow home to all kinds of natural flora and fauna.
- The aquarium when built will release massive amounts of CO2. Traffic in the area will increase and street congestion and air pollution will follow.
- The aquarium will also pollute the local waterways.
- To catch exotic fish for aquariums, explosives, cyanide and indiscriminate netting is used that damages coral reefs and permanently destroys marine ecosystems.
- As the mayor said himself, the aquarium will hold wild dolphins. Wild dolphins in Japan come direct from Taiji. Indeed it is the sale of captive dolphins for dolphin shows that keeps those controversial dolphin hunts going. They simply wouldn’t be economically viable otherwise.
- It is believed that Orix Corporation plans to use the Kyoto Aquarium as a showcase for foreign investors. In other words they want to build other aquarium/dolphinariums like this throughout Asia. If they succeed in doing this, Taiji’s financial future as a center for dolphin hunts is assured.
I think we are all used to political dishonesty, but for the mayor to have the brazen gall to state something not only false but so obviously the EXACT OPPOSITE OF TRUTH and expect people to just accept it – is just plain RUDE! Does he really have this much disrespect for the voting public? Or am I to assume the mayor simply doesn’t understand the meaning of the word biodiversity?
It’s about time we called him on this people! We can’t just sit idly back and tolerate this deceit! Tell the mayor what you think! On the Committee to Protect Kyoto website we have prepared four fantastic postcard designs, pre-addressed to the mayor, which you can print out and send. Each one bears a very clear message in both English and Japanese:
I pledge to boycott the Kyoto Aquarium.
To make your pledge and express your opposition to the aquarium please choose a postcard, print it out and add your own personal message. We need people from all over the world to send these cards, so please tell your friends, facebook it, tweet it, climb a mountain and shout it from the top!
Here’s the link: http://kyoto-mamoru.blogspot.com/p/boycott.html