The 10th National Conference of the Japanese Geoparks Network (JGN) was held from November 2 to 5, 2019 in Oita, Japan. Over 1000 participants gathered from all over Japan mainly from 9 UNESCO Global Geoparks, 35 National Geoparks and 15 aspiring Geoparks.
Group photo of the Geopark delegations
The opening ceremony began with local traditional ‘Kitsune Odori’ fox dance performed by local residents including many children.
Professor Kazuo Oike, the former president of the Japan Geopark Committee, was awarded a letter of appreciation and gratitude for his great contribution to the development of geopark activities in Japan in the past 10 years.
Dr. Ka-Ming YEUNG of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark gave a presentation and shared their experiences, such as collecting oral history of locals by face to face interviews. He spoke about the importance of networking in Geoparks and how building relationships with the local people benefits both the Geopark and the locals, not only with tourism and overall Geopark involvement but also with things such as disaster response.
Many students from elementary, junior high school and high school also participated and gave oral presentation or poster presentation. Their presentations shared activities and initiatives of their local Geoparks, as well as demonstrating the cooperation between education and geopark activities.