The 2004 Japanese ‘Invasive Alien Species Act’ was enacted to control invasive alien species and prevent the damage that they cause to ecosystems. The Act defines invasive alien species as those recognised as, or suspected of, causing damage to ecosystems, human safety, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Invasive alien species are carefully regulated: raising, planting, keeping or transporting them is prohibited without the express permission of the relevant minister. The Act represents a revolutionary advance for biological conservation in Japan. However, enforcing the Act is problematic. Dealing with the European bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), for example, involved resolving a bitter dilemma between biological conservation and agricultural productivity. The Act also has a serious loophole; it does not include alien micro-organisms. The incursion of amphibian chytridiomycosis into Japan caused confusion for scientists and the Japanese Government because control of such an alien micro-organism was not anticipated in the Act. Japan faces particular difficulties in attempting to control alien species because of its reliance on imports.
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis – Bombus terrestris – Bumblebee – Chytridiomycosis – Control – Hitchhikers – Invasive Alien Species Act – Invasive species – Japan – Legislation – Risk assessment.