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Location of Tatsuno in Nagano Prefecture
|• Total||169.02 km2 (65.26 sq mi)|
|• Density||130/km2 (340/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
Tatsuno town is located in the central part of Japan. It is takes about 3 hours from Tokyo, 2 hours from Nagoya, 5 hours from Kyoto by train and equally by car. There are many beautiful spots, cultural assets and historical relics in Tatsuno.
Tatsuno has a sister city in New Zealand. As Tatsuno is famous for their fireflies, Waitomo, New Zealand is famous for their glowworms and the bond was forged because of these and other similarities. In February 1999, the Tatsuno Japanese Garden was officially opened at the Southern end of Rora Street. Many of the items used in the traditional Japanese Garden were donated by the city of Tatsuno. In 2005, The Waitomo Garden was opened in Tatsuno, to commemorate 10 Years of Sister City relations. The sister-city relationship is a bond, of cultural and commemorative ties, introduced after World War I, to establish friendship between different cultures.
Tatsuno and Waitomo participate in student exchange programmes annually, to develop and foster young relationships between these two towns. Waitomo District Council hold speech competitions for senior students, each year, with the winners receiving an experience in Tatsuno.
The 1st town was founded on January 1, 1947 when the village of Inatomi gained town status and renamed to Tatsuno. The current town was founded on April 1, 1955 when the 1st town merged with the village of Asahi to create the new town of Tatsuno.
The present mayor of Tatsuno is Katsuhiko Yagasaki (矢ケ崎克彦?).
Fireflies in Matsuo-kyo
Many tourists go there to watch fireflies twinkling. The Tatsuno town government stresses in its homepage or brochure that it has kept protecting fireflies for a long time, but it is not necessarily true.
About 40 years ago, Mr Katsuno got many non-native fireflies from firefliy dealers in other areas and then released them into the Matsuo-kyo area in this town. Since then, government officials instructed by Mr Katsuno have bred many non-native fireflies in the field, so native fireflies seem to have gone extinct in the Matsuo-kyo area. There are a great deal of genetic and ecological differences between the native and introduced Genji fireflies just like a native and an introduced species.
Recently, this history of the intentional introduction of non-native fireflies and their bad influence in Tatsuno were shown in an academic journal.
Like other introduced species, the non-native fireflies will also spread into other areas in this town. The town government should protect native fireflies, but they (government officials and the mayor) have not tried to do it. One of the reasons may be that even non-native fireflies are helpful for tourism bringing money. Local governments in Japan are generally responsible for protecting biodiversity, because Japan has ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity. However, the Tatsuno town government has been neglecting it. Researches on fireflies in Tatsuno is being stopped by this local government.
Tourists should not only enjoy watching fireflies, but also pay attention to the bad influence of non-native fireflies. They also should consider how native fireflies are protected.
- Tatsuno town HP (in Japanese) http://www.town.tatsuno.nagano.jp/tatsunosypher/www/normal_top.jsp
- Y. Iguchi (2009) The ecological impact of an introduced population on a native population in the firefly Luciola cruciata (Coleoptera: Lampyridae).Biodiversity and Conservation, 18: 82119-2126. http://www.springerlink.com/content/5426518h66681m41/.
- Asahi Shimbun (Jun 17, 2008; Nagano Chunan edition, p27).
- Mainichi Shimbun (Jun 22, 2008; Nagano Nanshin edition, p25).
- Yomiuri Shimbun (July 28, 2008; evening edition, p13).