Supporting the AKAYA Project in Japan

Full view of the Akaya Forest

Nikon has been supporting the AKAYA Project* since 2005 by providing products for research and recording activities to the Nature Conservation Society of Japan.
The AKAYA Project aims to regenerate biodiversity and build a sustainable community through cooperation between the national government, the local populace and nature conservation groups.
The project is conducted in Akaya Forest in Minakami in Gunma Prefecture. Akaya Forest is a 10,000-hectare government-owned forest located on the border between Gunma and Niigata Prefectures. Most mammals living on the main island of Japan can be seen in Akaya Forest where various wild animals and plants inhabit and grow. Today Akaya Forest, as a project success, demonstrates the ideal of a government-owned forest in Japan.
The investigation of golden eagle behavior began in 2014 with the objective of enhancing the golden eagles' habitat. Binoculars and digital cameras provided by Nikon, Nikon Imaging Japan Inc. and Nikon Vision Co., Ltd. are used for monitoring and recording the golden eagles' nesting places.
We will continue supporting the project, with confidence that our support will prove useful for the project's aim of regenerating a healthy forest with rich biodiversity, where golden eagles can brood their babies.

  • *Officially called the "Biodiversity Restoration Program for Mikuni Mountains and Akaya River." The Program is commonly known as the "AKAYA Project" because its activities are conducted in the areas around Tone River tributaries and upstream of the Akaya River.

Activities for the AKAYA Project

The AKAYA Project is a cooperative project between the Nature Conservation Society of Japan, local residents' associations and the Kanto Regional Forest Office of the Forestry Agency.
Research based on scientific methods (including regular species monitoring in Akaya Forest) and forestry conservation (implemented with the demolition of a local dam, and studies to find the best ways to log trees in man-made forests) are employed under the project for the conservation and regeneration of ecosystems.
Upgrading the relationship with the local communities is conducted by promoting the long-term vitalization of communities through environmental conservation. Furthermore, environmental education is provided to prepare and develop the younger generation to be the leaders of the future.

A Japanese Judas tree, symbol of the project

Investigation of Golden Eagle Behavior in the Forest with Rich Biodiversity

Fixed point observation by a member of the Nature Conservation Society of Japan
Photographed by Koichiro Oriuchi, member of Society for Research of Golden Eagle Japan (in Akaya Forest in November 2010)

Golden eagles, mountain hawk-eagles and Asian black bear, rare and umbrella species, are living in Akaya Forest. Under the AKAYA Project, a project with the aim of enhancing the endangered golden eagle's' habitat began in 2014, as the first trial in Japan.
During the last fifty years, there have been great environmental changes to forests in Japan, resulting in a drop in the number of golden eagles. At the present time, the golden eagle population in Japan is only about 500 (150 to 200 pairs) and they are designated as an endangered species. In the project area, investigation of golden eagle behavior was started with the aim of the preservation of golden eagles and the regeneration of the forest.

Nikon's Support Activities

Providing Nikon Products

Since 2005, Nikon has been regularly providing its products for the project activities. Many of Nikon's products are used in research activities; binoculars and field scopes for watching and monitoring birds of prey and Nikon digital SLR cameras for taking photos.

Visiting the Project Area

Nikon's employees including photography product developers and persons in charge of CSR have participated in the annual on-site inspection tour of the golden eagle behavior investigation since 2014. They hike around the area to see what is needed for the investigation and to interact with local communities.

Educating Nikon Employees about Environment

Nikon holds special lectures by experts in various fields for its employees every year with the aim of raising their environmental awareness.
In 2012 to 2014, Nikon held nature experience tours called the Nature Tour in Akaya Forest as outdoor activities. These tours encouraged Nikon employees and their families to learn about the AKAYA project and enabled them to deeply experience the rich nature of Akaya Forest.

Akaya Forest Castanet Made from Thinned Wood

Nikon Mito Plant held a Akaya Forest Castanet workshop for elementary school students at the Mito-City Environmental Fair 2016. It took place in a Sannomaru government office building in Ibaraki Prefecture.
As one of the Nature Conservation Society of Japan's projects, the castanets were made from the thinned wood of forests including the Akaya forest in Minakami-machi, Gumma Prefecture.
Nikon will enthusiastically continue conducting the Akaya Forest Castanet workshop because part of the profit from sales of the castanets will be used for AKAYA Project activities.

Supporting Environmental Education with Educational Tools

Nikon creates educational tools based on the theme of Akaya Forest and donates them to educational institutions, non-profit organizations and public facilities who request them.
Niiharu Elementary School in Minakami-machi, near Akaya Forest, holds summer schools every year and uses "AKAYA NOTE", one of our educational tools, as a teaching material.