Ishigaki aims at designation as International Dark Sky Reserve
Ishigaki City aims to be designated as the first location in Japan with the World’s International Dark Sky Reserve Program of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) in Arizona, USA.
IDA has designated about 60 locations throughout the world in its program since it was established in 2001. Ishigaki City Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama expects the designation to be a great promotion opportunity for Ishigaki Island to be recognized in the world, and thus help increase the number of incoming tourists from all over the world.
According to IDA website, there are five types of designation programs. Mayor Nakayama is planning to make an application for the Iriomote National Park to be included in the International Dark Sky Parks Program, and the whole island in the International Dark Sky Communities Program. IDA requires applicants of all types of the programs to demonstrate robust community support and document how they adhere to the designation-specific program requirements.
IDA rules require applicants for the International Dark Sky Park program to be active participants in nature conservation efforts that implement good outdoor lighting while providing dark sky programs for visitors. Applicants for the International Dark Sky Communities listing must adopt quality outdoor lighting ordinances, and undertake efforts to educate residents about the importance of dark skies.
Following Ishigaki’s intention to file the applications, IDA Representative, Program Manager John Barentine visited Ishigaki City, May 29, and had an interview with Mayor Nakayama. Barentine said that Ishigaki is in a good condition and has a high potential to obtain the designation, but further residential support may be required. Responding to that, Nakayama is planning to enact ordinances, including reducing artificial night lighting to improve conservation of nature.