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Mitsui Forest First Ever in Japan to be Certified as JHEP AA+ Rank (Quantitative Biodiversity Evaluation)

Sep. 16, 2010


Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
Ecosystem Conservation Society - Japan


Main Contents

Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui" - Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President & CEO: Masami Iijima) strives to preserve and improve biodiversity at its "Mitsui Forests", which are in 73 diverse locations in Japan. A Mitsui-owned forest located in Kyoto (Kiyotaki Forest) has recently succeeded in becoming the first forest in Japan to acquire JHEP certification (AA+), a quantitative evaluation and authentication of the status of preservation and improvements in biodiversity.

JHEP (Japan Habitat Evaluation and Certification Program) is a certification system established in December 2008 by the Ecosystem Conservation Society-Japan (Headquarters: Toshima-ku, Tokyo; President: Hobun Ikeya). By carrying out quantitative evaluation of biodiversity in the "benchmark year" (the year when land was acquired or 30 years before the year of application) and the 50-year period after the benchmark year and comparing the quantitative values, land owners can provide scientific proof of the contribution they have made to protecting and improving biodiversity. In the case of the Kiyotaki Forest, since the benchmark year of 1980, the preservation of the surviving native vegetation has been undertaken and the process of gradually changing Harvest-oriented cedar and cypress forests (*1) into natural forests (*2) is underway. These management policies, which have made a major contribution to the conservation of local native vegetation and wildlife habitats, were demonstrated quantitatively, and that lead the Kiyotaki Forest to be awarded the second highest ranking (AA+).

The Convention on Biological Diversity highlights the importance of science-based quantitative evaluation to identify achievements in conservation of biodiversity. The 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity ("COP10") in Nagoya is about to begin. We are glad to be able to achieve such a high ranking result in a quantitative evaluation of biodiversity at this time and provide a model of new forest management in Japan.

Loss of wildlife habitats is taking place at a rapid rate throughout Japan even at this very moment. Companies are being asked to take initiatives to preserve biological diversity as one of the main elements of a healthy ecosystem that is the basis for human life. Mitsui will continue to make efforts to preserve and improve biodiversity at our 73 "Mitsui Forests" and further contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in our country.

*1 Harvest-oriented forests: forests that have been created as a result of human tree-planting; a cycle of "plant-grow-harvest-final use" is repeated in order to produce and supply wood materials.
*2 Natural forests: forests that have regenerated largely through natural means after the number of trees has fallen as a result of disasters or felling. They also include forests with strong human involvement, such as the production of wood materials, firewood or charcoal.

Kiyotaki Forest

Location Ukyou-ku, Kyoto Prefecture
Applicable area approximately 171 hectares
Year of acquisition 1979
Current state of vegetation see diagram below (as of April 2010)
Outline of forest management the forest is currently classified as a nature restoration forest, and the artificially planted parts of the forest are in the process of gradually restoring the natural state of forest through forest thinning as a supplementary activity

Kiyotaki Forest

JHEP Certification

Logo of JHEP

JHEP certification was established by the Ecosystem Conservation Society-Japan. It is based on the HEP (Habitat Evaluation Procedures) method, which was developed and is used by the United States Department of the Interior. JHEP is the only certification system in Japan to provide a quantitative evaluation of the contribution to the conservation of biodiversity by verifying "no-net-loss" or "net-gain" of habitat values. The quality of biodiversity as an expression of the value of wildlife habitat and similarity with the target vegetation (potential natural vegetation) before the benchmark year (the year the land was acquired or 30 years before the year of application in the case of forests acquired over 30 years ago) and the value at 50 years after the benchmark year are calculated by multiplying "quality of habitat" by "project area" by "time". If a positive value ("no-net-loss" or "net-gain") was gained by comparing the two values, the project is ranked among five levels (A, A+, AA, AA+ or AAA) according to the value gained.

JHEP Certification

Results of Quantitative Evaluation at Kiyotaki Forest

* The value of the Benchmark year Transition of the Value

(Vegetation Value)

Vegetation Value

The following four types of vegetation (targeted vegetation) were deemed to be regionally representative of the Kiyotaki Forest in the light of the topography and current vegetation, and a quantitative survey (comparison) was conducted to calculating the degree of similarity with these vegetation: "Castaneo-Quercetum crispulae", "Rhododendro reticulati-Pinetum densiflorae", "Quercetum variabili-serratae" and "Aceri-Zelkovetum"

(Wildlife's Habitat Value)

Wildlife's Habitat Value

The Japanese black bear, Japanese marten, Japanese badger and mountain hawk eagle were selected as evaluation species in light of the area and records of their existence. A quantitative evaluation of the habitat suitability of those species was carried out by using Habitat Suitability Index models.

(Total Value)

Total Value

The median value of the above vegetation and wildlife habitat evaluations.
These results confirm that over the approximately 30 years since Mitsui has owned the Kiyotaki Forest it has succeeded in increasing the quality of biodiversity in the forest in consideration of regional characteristics.

Notice:
This press release includes forward-looking statements about Mitsui. These forward-looking statements are based on the current assumptions and beliefs of Mitsui in light of the information currently available to it, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause Mitsui's actual results, performance, achievements or financial position to be materially different from any future results, performance, achievements or financial position expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. The risks, uncertainties and other factors referred to above include, but are not limited to, those contained in Mitsui's latest annual report on Form 20-F, which has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
This press release is published in order to publicly announce specific facts stated above, and does not constitute a solicitation of investments or any similar act inside or outside of Japan, regarding the shares, bonds or other securities issued by us.

Information

For inquiries on this matter, please contact

Media inquiries
Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
Corporate Communications Division
Takatsugu Ohki
Telephone: +81-3-3285-7562
Facsimile: +81-3-3285-9819
Inquiries from members of the general public
Mitsui & Co., Ltd.,
Environmental & Social Contribution Div.,
Forestry Management & Environment Fund Dept.
Telephone: +81-3-3285-6260
Facsimile: +81-3-3285-9030
Ecosystem Conservation Society - Japan
Ryota Tanabe
Telephone: +81-3-5951-0244
Facsimile: +81-3-5951-2974